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Deschamps mindful of 'immense' France honour

Published: Monday 13 August 2012, 9.00CET
France begin their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying preparations on Wednesday with a friendly against Uruguay and nobody will cherish the occasion more than new coach Didier Deschamps.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris
Deschamps mindful of 'immense' France honour
Didier Deschamps meets the press ahead of the Uruguay friendly ©Getty Images

Published: Monday 13 August 2012, 9.00CET

Deschamps mindful of 'immense' France honour

France begin their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying preparations on Wednesday with a friendly against Uruguay and nobody will cherish the occasion more than new coach Didier Deschamps.

Famed for captaining France to FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship glory in 1998 and 2000, Didier Deschamps is aiming to replicate his achievements as a player in his new role as Les Bleus coach.

The 43-year-old begins his two-season contract against Uruguay on Wednesday as France return to action for the first time since June's UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final exit to Spain. "To wear the France shirt was my greatest experience as a player," he said. "It is an immense honour to coach the France national team too, and our immediate aim is to reach the World Cup."

Deschamps' three-year tenure as Olympique de Marseille coach ended in July, with a French League Cup triumph scant consolation for an inconsistent league campaign. Now a new coaching challenge awaits, with France pitted alongside all-conquering Spain in World Cup qualifying Group I, as well as Finland, Belarus and Georgia. The pragmatic tactician remains unfazed: "Spain are overwhelming favourites, but we'll give our all to qualify as group winners."

Revered for his leadership on the pitch, Deschamps is striving to rekindle the faith of a nation. "The players must give everything because the French people need to recapture their pride in supporting the national team," he said. "It has been tough selecting a group of players, though, because the season has only just started."

Deschamps is eager to continue where his predecessor and former team-mate Laurent Blanc left off, turning around a side that performed abjectly at the 2010 World Cup after kicking off their campaign with a 0-0 draw against this week's opponents Uruguay. "I want continuity," he said. "My aim is to continue Laurent's good work. Of course, there are things I will do differently."

One of Deschamps' changes has included offering Rio Mavuba a route back into international football after five years in the wilderness, while he hinted at abandoning Blanc's lone-striker policy. "It is not something I have ruled out," he commented after naming Bafétimbi Gomis, Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema in his first squad. 

Last updated: 15/08/12 14.07CET

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