Didier Deschamps, a former world champion himself, said his players had the mental quality to see the team through
The triumphant France manager Didier Deschamps’ press conference was hijacked by his players almost as soon the first question was about to be asked. Paul Pogba, the heartbeat of the team, was leading the celebrations as the players climbed on the dais, chanting and cheering as the coach was drenched in the shower of beverages that was flowing freely from every corner.
After much effort, Deschamps was left alone – according to him drenched for the fourth time tonight – to continue his interaction with the media.
The manager, seemingly forever criticised for his dour, defensive approach to the game, decided to play the question about his team’s style in the front foot, to show a rare attacking intent in his approach.
“France is the world champion and it means we did things better than others. As you know I had a very young group as 14 of them were on a discovery journey in the World Cup. They managed to keep the right state of mind throughout the tournament. Today we didn’t do everything right but we had the mental quality to see us through,” he said.
“In the first half, we didn’t have much but we were still leading 2-1. Question is if France is a beautiful champion, it doesn’t matter as we are the world champions and we will be for the next four years.”
Commending his young team for the heart and desire showcased throughout the World Cup, the France manager foretold a bright future for his World Cup-winning stars. “I am happier seeing the happiness of my players and my pleasure is secondary. Kylian (Mbappe) is just 19 and is a world champion and he will be again I think, “ he said.
“I remember my own history (to win the 1998 World Cup as a player) and this is the players adventure and that of the support staff. The earlier win was in France and it was great, but I’ll say this is just as beautiful. For the young people today there’s great happiness as they are living through this event. My players have always been mad and they don’t know what it is to be world champion right now. But these 23 players will be linked forever and they will be always together.”
Argentina game the turning point
Signalling the 4-3 win over Argentina in the pre-quarterfinals as the turning point, the manager added: “In the group matches we were went okay and then it was the knockout phase which is a completely different tournament. Going past Argentina changed a lot of things as it increased our confidence and everything else. It was a trigger as we managed to turn around after going a goal down. The hunger for victory progressively increased from there.”