FIFA World Cup Today Matches

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France’s “Stubborn” Didier Deschamp

France’s “Stubborn” Didier Deschamp

Didier Deschamps’ appointment as France’s new head honcho was not too surprising. Immediately after Laurent Blanc’s resignation in 2012, Deschamps’ experience both as a player and manager made him the perfect candidate—no, he was beyond a gutsy candidate that could generate wins during World cup matches. He was France’s sole choice.


Deschamps’ credentials go back to as far as 1998. He captained the brave and strong French contingent that brought home the most coveted World Cup silverware. Soon after hanging his boots, he was appointed as AS Monaco’s manager and led them to win the Coupe de La Ligue trophy in 2003. He also had the chance to handle Juventus, It was under his tutelage that the club was able to secure its Serie A status. But Deschamps’ managerial career reached its peak when he helped Marseille snatch a Ligue 1 trophy in 2009—something, which the club has been denied of for 18 years. With his extensive experience, to deny him of the chance to manage the French football national squad is tantamount to suicide.


The so-called “Prince of Monaco” had a reputation of being “stubborn” and short of being a risk taker. But this stubbornness is simply complimentary of his play-it-safe approach on the pitch. His decisions may not be easily swayed, but perhaps it is because he already works on a comfortable formula known to deliver results.


To illustrate this, Deschamps decision to play against the so-called “beatable” teams such as Norway, Paraguay and Jamaica prior to the World Cup, has been readily questioned. While other squads chose to meet the competition’s strong contenders, France took a different direction.


Deschamps responded well to criticisms by explaining the practicality of his approach. He stressed that it will be difficult to demand “difficult opponents” to engage into an exhausting journey and pursuing them leaves the even greater risk of not having adequate time to practice since they have to wait for their opponent’s decisions. He also stressed that the squad shall be conducting an extensive training in-between the matches. Such is deemed more feasible than exposing his players to great strains and fatigue before the awaited tournament.


Indeed, one can easily tag or describe him as too conventional, but this does not erase the fact that he is just being realistic.


His awareness of what really happens inside the pitch than what theory predisposes is the reason behind France’s successful entry in the qualifiers.


Deschamps is known for observing the 4-2-3-1 formation and also the use of 2 strikers on the pitch. Unfortunately, after the defeat to Ukraine during the play-off’s first leg, he used the 4-3-3 instead. Evidently, Deschamps’ immediate tactical change erases the stigma of being “stubborn” and instead, highlights his risk taker side. Moreover, it also shows his flexibility and versatility—two of the most important characteristics that successful managers readily possess.


Image source: Koonis

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