St Petersburg, July 11: France coach Didier Deschamps went down his memory lane, marked by happy and sad moments, after his team’s 1-0 win over Belgium in the FIFA World Cup semi-final.
Samuel Umtiti’s 51st-minute header gave France the win on Tuesday night and Deschamps said he had already seen scenes of celebration which reminded him of his success as a player when France last won the World Cup in 1998.
“It brings back excellent memories, but that was in the final, this is the semifinal. We have a privilege to get to the final,” he remarked, before saying he was “here to write a new page in history.”
“What we did 20 years ago will always remain, but you have to live in the present, you can’t look in the rear-view mirror, you have to move forward,” explained Deschamps.
The win means France have another shot at a title, two years after losing the final of the 2016 European Championships 0-1 to Portugal on home soil.
“Two years ago, it was really painful, but in sport you have the chance to share success with the French people. The Euros were at home, but here we can still feel the support of the French people,” said Deschamps, who praised the commitment of his players. “We have spent 49 days together: who could believe we are now in the final of the World Cup. Now we have 4 days to prepare. We are going to celebrate with our families and then we will do everything to ensure there is no repeat of two years ago,” he said.
Deschamps said Belgium were difficult rivals and had “made us suffer, but it is good we were pragmatic and realistic.”
“We faced a really good Belgium team, but we hurt them and we could have hurt them more if we had been more precise, but we were prepared for anything and we showed once again everything that is positive,” commented Deschamps.
The French coach had special praise for Paul Pogba. “He has grown in the team, he’s an expressive player and his performance only increases his importance to the side.” IANS