French coach says he knows Socceroos players ‘very well’ – FTBL

French coach Didier Deschamps says he knows the Australian players well.

And he knows they won’t be child’s play in their World Cup opener in Qatar on Tuesday night (Wednesday 0600 AEDT).

But the nerves? A trepidation in the French camp?

“There is no apprehension,” Deschamps told reporters.

“There is no anxiety or anything. Everyone is calm. There are cool heads.

“We know Australia will give us our money’s worth…we don’t count our chickens until they’ve hatched.

“We know our three opponents in front of us, we know Australia very well.”

Deschamps has swept away the curse of the defending champions: at the last three World Cups, the defending champion has not managed to get out of his group.

“It’s based on statistics, probabilities, facts,” he said.

“But I think each team has taken their own journey to get to where they are today.

“It’s up to us to have a squad that is aware of the goal of the first game.

“We are not going to think about what could have been, what is important is to focus on the first game against Australia.

“Everything that was before is on the sidelines now. There are analyzes that can be done, do with it what you want, but we will be ready.”

Deschamps, who oversaw the France national team for a decade, was also not worried about the spate of injuries that plagued his side.

Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema was ruled out after arriving in Doha, joining esteemed figures Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku in missing the cup through injury.

“It’s full steam ahead with the squad we have at our disposal,” he said.

“Less ambition and less desire to do everything to get to the end? I don’t think so.

“My options have changed. But I already had different options open to me and different possibilities for my training and that remains the case.”

Injuries will force France to field a team with less experience but still with strong leadership, he said.

“We have enough players who are able to stimulate, to push others forward, to speak in the locker room, on the pitch, on the sidelines,” he said.

“But there are other types of leadership, it’s not just about talking – if it’s about talking to blow hot air, then it’s not really worth it.

“It’s important that every player is a leader in his position and then we’ll see what he’s made of on the pitch.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, it can’t be done overnight. But we have exactly what we need.”

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