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Croatia-France (1-2): Deschamps “very proud” of his players after their success

This Wednesday in Zagreb, the world champions beat Croatia (2-1) despite a second period where they had lost the thread of the meeting. They remain in the wheel of Portugal, at the head of the League of Nations group. For Didier Deschamps, the satisfactions are numerous.

What made the difference? Character, individual talent, state of mind?

DIDIER DESCHAMPS. It’s a whole. In the other matches, everyone has difficult matches, Croatia has quality. We should have been more sheltered, with two goals ahead. We made mistakes. We have the strength of character. The players are competitors. There were a lot of changes, I’m very proud of what the players did. Croatia pushed us. We beat them again. It’s a balance of power, Croatia has had good times. Everyone sticks together.

Do you regret the missed opportunities of the first half?

We could have led more widely, there is the opportunity of Kylian, the clear situation on Anthony Martial (Editor’s note: the penalty not whistled). We are quite efficient in general, we score two goals. We had control, we should have been rewarded with a second goal but that was not the case.

With the public, does that change everything?

Me, it changes me because when I try to position them, they have trouble hearing me (smiles). Right now, we have to be content with what we can. We play in almost empty stadiums but nothing will ever replace full stadiums. We have no choice but it’s the public who brings this adrenaline.

To what do you attribute the goal conceded, a misunderstanding?

Between what I told them at the start and what I wanted to change, there was a little time. It’s not just that. We have to get out on the batter. It took a little while for him to position himself.

Are you satisfied with the offensive animation?

Yes. It was smoother, more interesting. There was a lot of mobility, Kylian Mbappé and Anthony Martial used the width of the pitch a lot. Antoine Griezmann was in his register and scored his 33rd goal in case you haven’t noticed. It takes repetition. Anthony does not have the profile of Olivier Giroud. They have a freedom, but there are also things to do together. They took part in the game more, made individual actions, deviations. It was better than the last game. It’s not just us. Portugal had not allowed it. I see great nations. Portugal is very strong. They put what was necessary to prevent us from playing.

Why did you make so many changes in midfield and what did you think of Adrien Rabiot?

Between what I thought I was doing and what I had to decide based on the feelings of the players or the information I had, I didn’t take any risks. I put other players to see them. It will be the same next month. This allows more players to be involved. Adrien Rabiot continues, he confirmed everything he does well. He has a technical ease, slaughter.

What conclusions do you draw from this gathering?

We had three different oppositions. There was an offensive festival against Ukraine. We had a fighter’s match, solid, closed against one of the best European and world nations, Portugal. Here, we had a great battle. I wanted to keep the same system. The players are in the best position even if it requires adjustments. I am very proud of the players, very happy with them. I have not seen many selections achieve what we did in these three games.

Did Paul Pogba’s entry show that he was indispensable?

We can also speak of Antoine Griezmann. Paul is one of the leaders. He has this ability to be decisive, he is a driving force in the group. He is a key and important player in the team. It federates collectively. He has a quality in the penultimate pass. He has a technical ability, his pass triggers everything even if I do not take anything away from Lucas Digne’s center. Paul Pogba has not started compared to his long absence.

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