“There are no risks to take”: Didier Deschamps keeps the mystery about his eleven against Tunisia

A grave, once again, and perhaps even more than usual. This Tuesday, Didier Deschamps gave no indication of the identity of his starting line-up on Wednesday against Tunisia (4 p.m. in France). This match, which is only at stake in retaining first place in Group D, should be the occasion for a squad review. With or without Mbappe? It was not this Tuesday noon, at the media center, that the coach gave his answer.

Aurélien Tchouaméni said of Griezmann that he was essential. How do you judge his start to the World Cup?

DIDIER DESCHAMPS. Obviously, he is in full possession of his athletic abilities and well in his head too. The player has always been a great influence in the game in relation to his technical touch and his high volume of play which allows him to be present offensively and defensively. Some may say he’s a little sacrificed but I’ll say it again, he takes as much pleasure in tackling and recovering a ball as he does an offensive pass. His intelligence in the game allows him to have a good balance.

There have been a lot of injuries in your group. What do you think of this new generation that is emerging?

There are necessarily younger people, due to the absence of certain executives. They don’t have this international experience but they have the skills and everything they need to be at the level. Look at the clubs they play for, they participate in the Champions League. They need executives but from the moment the potential is there, they are adjustments. It is their merit to put themselves at the level of the competition.

Some players may go for a third match. On what criteria do you make your choice?

The data is not completely identical to 2018 or 2014. We are guaranteed to be in 8th and not need an extra point in absolute terms. It is an international match against an opponent who is playing his qualification. We will make sure to get the best possible result. This situation allows me to be in management. There are no risks to be taken, there are discussions about the players’ own feelings. I still have time, I will make my decision tomorrow (Wednesday, editor’s note). Yes, there will be changes. How much, I won’t tell you. My players are not comfortable, the whole group is concerned. I’m counting on the 24, being aware that there is a match coming up in four days (Sunday at 4 p.m. in France, if France finishes first, editor’s note).

How do you view Tunisia?

I know them well. I was present at the Parc des Princes against Brazil in September (5-1 victory for the Seleçao Editor’s note) and I watched their first two matches. They will play their qualification thoroughly. This team has quality, many players who are or have gone through Ligue 1. My players know them. The context is favorable for Tunisia. Tomorrow, we will be a little more outside. There is this fervor, this passion, this enthusiasm that comes in addition to their quality. Laidouni, Skhiri, Msakni, Sliti… They have a clear objective to hope to continue the competition.

“Kylian has no ego. Well, no ego…”

We saw Karim Benzema go on vacation to Reunion, after being announced to be back in training at Real Madrid by the Spanish media… Are you closely following this situation and his recovery?

(Silence for a few seconds). It’s not something that occupies my mind. I don’t know who says what and how. I spoke with Karim after he left, you know his situation and the time frame for him to recover. I have 24 players who are there, I take care of the 24 players who are there. even if some unfortunately are not there, like Kimpembe or Pogba too. I’m not going to invent stuff that doesn’t concern our daily lives.

Regarding Mbappé and his potential tenure tomorrow, should we spare his physique or his ego?

So the problem would be his ego… What do you know about that? Does he want to play? I know it, you don’t. Kylian has no ego. Well, no ego. Obviously it is important and decisive but it has always been part of a collective framework with this ability to be decisive. He is no longer 18, he has experience. The 24 players want to play but not all will start.

Eduardo Camavinga made several oppositions to the left-back position. How believable is it to see him tomorrow?

I won’t tell you if it starts tomorrow. Eduardo is an option. Adrien Rabiot has also already been used in this position. Jules Koundé was also able to make up for absences with his club from time to time. Eduardo, he even played central defender at one time. There are possible alternatives.

Will Steve Mandanda start tomorrow? Hugo Lloris did not come to the press this morning.

It takes energy to come before you. You have to weigh your words. Hugo is obviously available and it comes into consideration as for all the other players in relation to tomorrow’s match. I didn’t answer but that’s okay.


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