In the latest France news, Didier Deschamps has warned the teams left at the World Cup that his Les Bleus squad have yet to peak.
The French are gearing up to face neighbours Belgium in Tuesday’s semi-final as they seek a second World Cup triumph, with Deschamps having captained the nation to their only previous success in 1998.
The 49-year-old is aiming to emulate the great German Franz Beckenbauer by winning the World Cup as a player and a coach, having been lucky enough to inherit a young, talented squad when he took charge in 2012.
Deschamps came close to leading France to European Championship glory in 2016, losing to Portugal in the final, and is hopeful those involved two years ago will have learnt from the experience.
Despite having cruised through to the last four in Russia, Deschamps says France still have a few gears to go before hitting their stride, believing fans might not even see the best of the current squad at this World Cup.
“The potential is there, the individual quality is there, this side is younger than the side that was in the final of Euro 2016, but they have a lot of club experience at a high level,” he explained.
“We will be more competitive. In two and four years, we have a lot of players who will still be here with us. There is potential for progression and this experience here should help them.”
France, who have won both meetings with Belgium at previous World Cups, rested four players ahead Tuesday’s meeting in Saint Petersburg as a precaution, but Deschamps says the whole squad has been given a clean bill of health.
Les Bleus are likely to recall Blaise Matuidi after he was suspended for the win over Uruguay in the quarter-finals, with Corentin Tolisso set to make way.
France are 6/4 to get the better of Belgium in 90 minutes with bet365, while they are 8/11 to qualify for the final.