France coach Didier Deschamps on brink of history

  • Saturday 14, July 2018 in 10:53 AM
  • France coach Didier Deschamps during training
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: A firm hand on the tiller for France comes not only from captaining a World Cup-winning team 20 years ago, but also from some harsh lessons in Didier Deschamps' six years as coach.
Unfairly derided as a "water carrier" in his playing days in the French midfield, Deschamps has proven both innovative and brave as coach, and is now one victory away from joining an elite club.
 
Only Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer have won the World Cup as both a player and a coach. Deschamps will join them if his team win Sunday’s final against Croatia in Moscow.
 
His six years in charge have provided not only a French record 52 wins in 82 matches but also see him deal with the bitter disappointment of defeat at home in Paris to Portugal in the 2016 European Championship final plus the storm over Karim Benzema’s suspension.
 
Deschamps was accused of racism and had graffiti to that effect scrawled on the wall of his house after Benzema was kicked out of the team over a sex tape scandal, but making bold decisions has been a hallmark of his tenure.
 
Paul Pogba was dropped during the last World Cup in Brazil, Samuel Umtiti brought in during EURO-2016, and in Russia two inexperienced fullbacks were chosen from the start of the tournament.
 
The fact that only nine players have survived from the EURO-2016 squad shows a steely streak, with Deschamps not hesitating to offer a chance to players with potential. Kylian Mbappe would seem obvious, but Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard on the flanks now looks inspired.