There was speculation right up to the end, but now it’s clear: the French national team is still counting on Didier Deschamps. The former world and European champion extended his contract as national coach until 2026, the French Football Association announced on Saturday. Association president Noël Le Graët praised Deschamps’ “extraordinary record”, who has coached the team since 2012.
“I would like to thank the President for his continued trust and support. It is a great pleasure to be able to continue my work,” said Deschamps, whose old contract expired after the World Cup in Qatar. In 2018, the 54-year-old led Le Bleus to victory at the World Cup. At the World Cup in Qatar, the French again reached the final, but lost it dramatically on penalties to Argentina. Now Deschamps should lead the team around Kylian Mbappé to the title at the upcoming EM 2024 in Germany and then if possible also at the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada.
Le Graet, who appointed Deschamps as national coach more than ten years ago, had campaigned early on for Deschamps to extend his contract. Until recently, there had been speculation about Deschamp’s future. His former teammate Zinedine Zidane, who had celebrated three triumphs in the Champions League with Real Madrid, was repeatedly traded as a possible successor. Zidane, who has been free since leaving Real in 2021, is also said to have been interested in the job. Now he should return to club football.
Deschamps has now been in charge for over ten years and with him at the helm, France have become one of the constant greats in world football. In addition to the World Cup finals in 2018 and 2022, Deschamps also led the Équipe Tricolore to the 2016 European Championship final (loss to Portugal). In 2021 there was victory in the Nations League. France is currently third in the Fifa world rankings. With the triumph in 2018, Deschamps was only the third person after Franz Beckenbauer and Mario Zagallo to hold the World Cup trophy in his hands as a player and coach.