Didier Deschamps: “A very dense group”

Saturday 2 December 2023 - 19:50 - FFF
Didier Deschamps

The France coach gave his verdict on the draw for Euro 2024, which took place this Saturday in Hamburg and which will see Les Bleus face Austria and the Netherlands, as well as the winner of the Path A play-offs.

Due to surgery this week for back pain, Didier Deschamps was unable to travel to Hamburg to observe the draw for the group stage of Euro 2024, it was therefore via television that the France national coach saw the hand dealt to his team, namely in the shape of Austria, the Netherlands and the eventual winner of the Path A play offs. Below are his thoughts on the draw.

Austria, Netherlands and a play off winner on the menu for Les Bleus

“What is your analysis of the draw?”
“It’s a strong draw overall but it could hardly be otherwise, given the quality of the qualified teams. There is such a density in Europe, the manner of the draw could only give us groups of a high or very high standard, since the final group position in qualifying was preferred to the FIFA rankings. With all the respect I have for these nations, those in Pot 2 are not superior to some of those in Pot 3, or even in Pot 4. Therefore, in Group B, Spain Croatia and Italy, three of the top ten sides in the FIFA rankings will compete against each other. Compared to this group, the others seem more balanced. We have drawn a solid group of teams.”

“France will face Austria first up, from Pot 2.”
“Yes, and it's not a gift. There is high importance on the first match. We know Austria well since we played them twice in 2022 as part of the Nations League. They’re a very athletic team, with good individual players in good form who gave us problems in Vienna.”

“Next up is the Netherlands on June 21st in Leipzig.”
“This is also a team that we know very well. In qualifying, it went very well for us both home and away, but I haven’t forgotten that each time they were missing several important players. The Netherlands remain one of the best European nations. Their players play in the best European clubs and compete in the Champions League. They’re solid.”

“The final team is as yet unknown but will be the winner of the Path A play offs.”
“Yes, our observers will go and watch them in March. If Poland qualify, we will have a very strong group.”

“What are the next deadlines, between now and the Euros?”
“There are many even if a good part of the work has already been done, particularly regarding the search for a base camp. We have options and will decide soon on which to take. We will also schedule two friendly matches in March. At the beginning of February, our staff will attend a seminar to finalise all the preparations. We are approaching this tournament with not only ambition and determination, but also humility.”