Ahead of what looks like France vs. the World on Sunday, Didier Deschamps will distance himself from thoughts of loss and the bigger picture.
On the morning of his last two World Cup finals, as a player in 1998 and a coach four years earlier, he remembered the older brother he had lost in a plane crash and felt an acute sense of a crucial opportunity to seize.
Years have passed. Time heals,” he said of how Philippe Deschamps was taken from him and how he, a 19-year-old in Nantes, was left to grieve. .
On Sunday, Didier Deschamps’ mind will drift away from thoughts of loss and the bigger picture – ahead of his two previous World Cups, he remembered his older brother losing
Deschamps will be hoping to lead France to another world title against Argentina in Qatar on Sunday
He didn’t touch on this more than in a few TV interviews, most recently a few months ago, though he seems to be taking that personal tragedy to days of significance like this one.
“It definitely gives me more strength,” he said. “Life takes people away from us, but gives us more unexpected strength. I have a professional destiny, because life has not always been easy. I do everything to get as high as possible.
This narrative of struggle certainly applies to his captaincy of the France team. L’Equipe revealed, on Saturday, the French Football Federation’s desire to meet Deschamps next month to extend his contract until 2024, although he was not affected by entering this tournament without that.
France never won a World Cup without him, yet he still goes for a conservative and utilitarian image, not completely ignoring Eric Cantona’s “water carrier” tag when they played together in the squad.
It was notable that Arsene Wenger made no mention of Deschamps in an interview with L’Equipe newspaper on Saturday, in which he detailed the reasons for France’s success – more than England – in the World Cup finals.
The Blues have never won a championship without him, in 1998 and 2018, but the chief has found it hard to shed his conservative, utilitarian image or Eric Cantona’s “water bearer” label.
Deschamps was a solid defensive midfielder, not as talented as Zinedine Zidane (L).
France knows how to win it because they have already done so. And France’s amateur coaching is better than England’s, said Wenger, who pointed out. The censors wouldn’t surprise Deschamps, who doesn’t apologize for his lack of the aesthetic some in France seem to want.
I was a water carrier. He said a few years ago. I had no pretense that I could change the match myself. Players like me, we’ve done a bit of a thankless job.
Don’t show a difficult tackle or strip a person from obsession in slow motion on the big screen. But if you add it all up, I’ve always been the one that coaches automatically write on the team sheet.
One of his mentors, 1998 French team coach Aimee Jacquet, used to call Deschamps, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall, “trois pommes,” after the French expression for someone of short stature: “as tall as three apples.” But Jacquet also offered to jockey : “You will never eat from it.”
Many of the players on the team that face Argentina on Sunday were carrying jugs of water. This France is less tasteful than previous incarnations; Suffering from injury and now a virus, although Raphael Varane, Ibrahima Konate and Kingsley Coman, who all contracted the virus, trained on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger made no mention of Deschamps in an interview on Saturday in which he laid out the reasons for France’s success – more than England – at the World Cup finals.
But the 54-year-old led his imperfect French team to another World Championship final
The team has found a way to achieve victories despite periods of danger, as Poland and England attest.
And now for Argentina, Lionel Messi, and the sensation that it is written in the stars for them, rather than France, to add a third World Cup star to their shirts.
Deschamps applied his usual language to the idea that most viewers want Argentina to win.
I often feel like this but I’m okay with being alone. ‘It doesn’t bother me,’ said the 54-year-old. These doubts always come. We are here and we have done everything we can to be well prepared.
I know that Argentina and many people around the world, and even some French people too, hope that Lionel Messi will win the World Cup – but we will do our best to achieve our goal.
It is costly to disappoint the thousands who hope Argentine Lionel Messi will win it
“Argentinians are very motivated people. They support their team and that’s a positive thing. It’s good to have an atmosphere like that in a World Cup final. But our opponents are not in the crowd, they are a team we face on the pitch.
The French will not be completely without support. President Emmanuel Macron’s delegation will include the injured duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante. France arrived at Lusail Court with their own narrative as well.
“Leur Histoire” (“Their History”) was the headline on Saturday on a memorable cover for L’Equipe, with Olivier Giroud lifting Mbappe next to the famous shot of Pele and Jairzinho in that pose in 1970. France are looking to complete their first victories back-to-back since Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
When 19-year-old Mbappe became the youngest player since 17-year-old Pele to score in a World Cup final four years ago, the Brazilian tweeted that he might have to ‘flick off’ his boots. Mbappe replied, “The king will always be the king.”
The 82-year-old’s health has improved so much that he may watch the final from his hospital bed. So France feels the attraction of fate, too.
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