France boss Didier Deschamps insisted his side are far from “a shipwreck” after losing 2-0 to Denmark in their final game before heading to Qatar 2022. Les Bleus will head into their FIFA World Cup trophy defence in November on the back of a poor UEFA Nations League campaign that saw them limp home third in Group A1.
Three losses in competitive matches since March means France have already matched their worst-ever record in that regard for a calendar year. Having been tipped as strong contenders to be world champions again, France’s second loss to the Danes in 2022 – ahead of a Group D battle between the teams in Qatar – has set off alarm bells among supporters.
Deschamps, who guided the team to glory at Russia 2018, has pushed back against suggestions his side are in crisis, pointing to both his decision to field a younger side and comparing France’s form to other major rivals struggling for results.
“I don’t think it’s a shipwreck,” he told TF1. “We had a lot of chances. We were weak, we made errors when playing out from the back. It is a young French side, which in the most part doesn’t have players with experience at the very highest level. It is not a question of systems. We mustn’t worry. Having the players with international experience back will do us good. There’s no worrying. It’s difficult for everyone. Yesterday, I was watching other games. There are other big teams losing as well. We shouldn’t think of ourselves as better than them. We are going to have to fight.”
Deschamps added: “I’m not going to darken the situation any further. This is a reminder of what will be waiting for us in two months.” Kylian Mbappe struggled in parts against Denmark, and looked to be nursing a minor knock at one point, but Deschamps was quick to assure that he is unconcerned about the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s game. “Kylian has done a lot of good things. He’s also one of the few players to have played 90 minutes twice in three days,” Deschamps said. “He cannot do everything. He was more decisive three days ago, yes, but like the whole team, I am not worried about Kylian.”