Paris: France coach Didier Deschamps expressed his concerns at facing either Sweden or Portugal in the 2014 World Cup play-offs with Spain needing just a point to qualify automatically as group winners at home to Georgia on Tuesday.
The 44-year-old -admitted that while he hoped they would win their third successive match, France’s fate was out of their hands as they trail World Cup holders Spain by three points.
France, who have qualified for every major finals World or European since Euro ’96, are in danger, given the present FIFA rankings, of not being seeded for the play-offs, which features the eight best runners-up from the nine Euro zone groups, and that could see them face a tough battle to even make it to Brazil.
“I always prepare a France side to win, whatever the match,” said Deschamps, who replaced fellow 1998 World Cup winner Laurent Blanc at the helm of the French team after Euro 2012 and whose side thrashed Australia 6-0 in last Friday’s friendly.
“But one has to be realistic, today there are strong possibilities that we will be in the play-offs.
“The Spanish have their destiny in their own hands, it doesn’t depend on us.
“With regard to the play-offs I could say that every one of the teams are to be avoided but if it is either Portugal or Sweden I will be afraid as they have great individual players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”
Given a Sunday poll in French newspaper Le Parisien it would appear that not many French people are that concerned whether France qualify or not such is their low opinion of the national side.
Some 82% of the more than 1000 people polled said they had a bad opinion of the team while over 70% said the players in the squad were just ‘plain rude’ even though a lot of the members have changed since the appalling events in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when their behaviour reached its nadir they mutinied and refused to train.
However Deschamps said he took no notice of such polls.
“It is really not that interesting, although of course it is something that is neither agreeable to read or hear about,” said Deschamps, who only last year told AFP how he felt that the standards of behaviour among the modern generation of footballers was at a lower level than that of his era.