BSP-23 Matuidi hails coach Deschamps as France prepare for World Cup final

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Matuidi hails coach Deschamps as France prepare for World Cup final

MOSCOW, July 13, 2018, (BSS/XINHUA) – France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has
praised French coach Didier Deschamps for molding a team “in his own image”
as Les Bleus prepare for Sunday’s World Cup final against Croatia.

France are the bookmakers’ favorites to win the clash at Moscow’s Luzhniki
Stadium after they showed impressive defensive discipline under their 1998
World Cup-winning coach, who was himself renowned as a no-nonsense
midfielder.

“He has created a team in his own image and I think that’s important,”
Matuidi told a press conference on Friday. “He’s trying to recreate his
glorious past as a player and so far everything is working. It [France’s
progress to the final] hasn’t happened by accident.”

France advanced to their third World Cup decider in 20 years by taking top
spot in Group C before winning their knockout stage matches against
Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium, each without needing extra time.

Croatia, meanwhile, have had a grueling path to the final, with all of
their past three matches – against Denmark, Russia and England – going to
extra time. On top of that, Zlatko Dalic’s men also have one less day to
recover from their semifinal.

But Matuidi said he did not expect fatigue to be a contributing factor as
Croatia strive to win football’s most coveted trophy for the first time.

“We will be facing a very good team, with players that have a very high
level and a lot of experience so we need to be focused,” the 31-year-old
Juventus player said. “It’s the game of our lives and there will be pressure.
But we have to be positive and not let that inhibit us.”

Matuidi had words of support for Les Bleus striker Olivier Giroud, who has
yet to score in this tournament.

“Olivier has done a lot for the team,” Matuidi said. “He is a great player
for us and we are happy with the way he is playing. He has been a little bit
frustrated not to score, but it doesn’t matter when we win. His work rate has
been very important, both offensively and defensively.”

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