Didier Deschamps appeared in a press conference this Thursday in Rotterdam, on the eve of the match against the Netherlands (20:45). The coach recalled that the goal of the team of France was to ensure his qualification for the final four of the League of Nations, next June.
Are you excited to come back to Rotterdam where you were European Champion in 2000?
DIDIER DESCHAMPS. It was a long time ago. I did not come back and I did not play much more in France team then. Yes, it's a good memory. But my players will not understand if I tell them about it, some were not born or so very young. But yes, symbolically, it's nice to come back here.
Is the objective of this match to ensure qualification?
Yes, it depends on us, through the result of tomorrow, which should allow us to ensure the first place in our group. We know what remains to be done. Two results may suit us, but even if a draw is enough for us, we will play this game with the ambition and the goal to win it.
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This League of Nations is it useful to remobilize the players?
Yes, it has been felt against Germany and the Netherlands. We do not arrive in a friendly to recreate the atmosphere of the competition. There is a clear goal, to finish first of the group. It was important at the end of our title of world champion. The players are used to this adrenaline of the competition. They knew the summit in Russia. In this League of Nations, we are also in competition.
What do you think of the Netherlands?
This team is building well. Ronald Koeman has installed young players. Alumni have retired. They are rebuilding and are on a good momentum. There is only to see the result against Germany (3-0) and their draw against Belgium (1-1). There is quality. There is a tendency to bring out the defensive players, but De Jong impresses me in the middle of the field, by his intelligence of play, his ability to take out the balloons, to make the game vertical.
Are you worried about aligning a reworked defense?
I do not have any concerns. It's a test for the whole team. There will be some respondent. The Netherlands will do everything to take the maximum points. There are injured players, forfeit. I trust those I have called. Some are less well in club, it is a context and a different organization. There will be less automatism than if I had the four players who have their bearings because they have chained a lot of games.
Griezmann and Mbappé apply to the Ballon d'Or, does that change their relationship?
I do not think the games that preceded show that. And now it's settled, everything is decided. There has never been an opposition, or one that wants to do more than the other. They were in turn successful. Sometimes together, decisive. They score and score a lot of goals. There is no struggle. There are also other contenders. Their presence is a strength for the France team.
Mbappé can still progress?
I am very happy that he is French. It is decisive for the team. If he has even more efficiency, so much the better. He will do everything to be as good or more.
What do you think of Steven Nzonzi's season, which could replace Pogba?
He changed clubs, countries, culture. He is not young, he has experience, but it takes time to adapt. It was not very long. He is undisputed holder of Roma and maintains a very, very high level of performance. He has acclimatized well, in his register, as when I used it.