BEIRUT

Football

New France coach Deschamps to reign with iron fist

Deschamps says France’s players “can no longer make mistakes.”

PARIS: New France coach Didier Deschamps will not tolerate the bad behavior which marred the national team’s last two major tournaments, after he was officially unveiled.

The 1998 World Cup-winning captain has taken over from Laurent Blanc after Les Bleus, who mutinied at the 2010 World Cup, went out with a whimper to eventual champions Spain in the Euro 2012 quarterfinal.

Four players, including midfielder Samir Nasri who launched a foul-mouthed rant against a reporter, are due to face a disciplinary hearing on July 27 over their misbehavior at the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.

“I’m something of a perfectionist. I’m not here to threaten people or what have you, I am trusting, but today the situation in French football is such that the players can no longer make mistakes,” he told a news conference a day after being named coach.

Deschamps believes the national side are still recovering from the amazing scenes in South Africa two years ago when players refused to train in support of striker Nicolas Anelka, who had been sent home for verbally abusing then coach Raymond Domenech.

“Given the history that dates back to 2010, professional football players who wear the team jersey of France have very important duties,” the former Olympique Marseille, Juventus and Monaco coach said.

“Today, players cannot afford the slightest deviation. I will not analyze what happened in Ukraine. I will take time to reflect, to have a deep think as I always do, while awaiting the decision of the Disciplinary Committee.”

While saying he would take “sporting sanctions” if players misbehave in future, the 43-year-old Deschamps was keen to talk about football too.

France have tricky World Cup 2014 qualifiers ahead including against world champions Spain. “What matters to me is to fight to win, to do everything to win. To get there, I want to see a team who take control, who impose themselves on the opponents,” he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 11, 2012, on page 15.

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