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Deschamps favourite to lead France into World Cup battle

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-07-03

Didier Deschamps quit as manager of Marseille on Monday and is now the firm favourite to take over from Laurent Blanc as coach of the French national team. He may not be the popular choice but Deschamps is the “obvious” candidate to lead Les Bleus.

Didier Deschamps is in pole position to replace Laurent Blanc as manager of the French national team after quitting as manager of Marseille on Monday.

Deschamps was already the favoured candidate once Blanc had announced his decision to leave Les Bleus on Saturday. Having severed his ties with Marseille, the path is now clear for him to take the reins of the national team.
With Arsène Wenger, the man many would like to see succeed Blanc, committing his immediate future to Arsenal, Deschamps has become the likely if not overwhelmingly popular candidate.
“Deschamps manager of Les Bleus - an obvious choice,” read the headline in French daily Le Parisien on Monday morning, summing up the feeling towards the former Chelsea and Juventus player.
 “He has the best profile to be the next manager of France. His career speaks for itself even if he has not always escaped criticism,” said the Paris newspaper, describing Deschamps as a “winner whose skills are never questioned”.
An impressive record
Deschamps has built up an impressive CV as both a player and a manager and, most importantly, he has a winning pedigree with Les Bleus.
He won 103 caps as a player and captained the all-conquering team that won back-to-back World Cup and European Championship titles in 1998 and 2000.
As a manager he impressed in his first job at Monaco, leading the minnows to a Champions League final in 2004, which his team lost 3-0 to Porto.
In 2006 he was named coach at Juventus and immediately guided the Italian club back into the Seria A after they had been relegated as a result of a match-fixing scandal.
In the summer of 2009 he moved to his former club Marseille, promptly leading them to their first Ligue 1 title in 18 years.
But he came under pressure last season after a miserable run of 14 games without a win left Marseille languishing in 10th place, a mammoth 32 points behind champions Montpellier.
While the French Football Federation will be impressed by his record, they may have misgivings over the fact that Deschamps has had a fraught relationship with the management at all three clubs. His stints at both Juventus and Monaco ended in acrimony after he fell out with club bosses.
Despite that, Eurosport’s Cedric Rouquette says Deschamps is the only real option for Les Bleus.
“I am not sure Deschamps would be the most popular choice, but he is the most realistic option,” Rouquette told FRANCE 24.
Rouquette believes the appointment of Deschamps would lead to a more pragmatic playing style in contrast to the free-flowing entertaining style Blanc tried to impliment.
“Deschamps is more focused on results than Blanc. He is a winner and if he can win a game with only one shot on goal then that is good enough for him,” Rouquette said.
French football in the doldrums
Whoever takes charge of Les Bleus will have a tough task trying to restore faith in a team who are unloved by the French public.
An opinion poll published at the weekend  in Le Journal De Dimanche revealed only 20 percent of the French public felt affection for the national team.
The breakdown in the bond can be attributed to the lingering effects of France’s disastrous campaigns at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, when the players caused outrage by going on strike.
France’s disappointing showing at Euro 2012 and the poor behaviour of certain players like Samir Nasri, whose tournament ended with a foul-mouthed rant at a journalist, did little to improve relations.
“Ten years ago France was the example for all other countries to follow, now we are behind everyone,” Rouquette told FRANCE 24.
“It’s not a great time for French football and in particular for the national team.”
If Didier Deschamps does get the nod from France’s football chiefs he will face the immediate challenge of trying to guide France through a tricky qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
France’s main opponents in their group are none other than Spain, who have just become the first team in history to win three consecutive major tournaments. Only one team is guaranteed a spot in Brazil.

Date created : 2012-07-02

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