RIBEIRAO PRETO, July 2: France coach Didier Deschamps on Tuesday sought to temper growing expectations generated by his team’s impressive run to the World Cup quarter-finals.
Les Bleus defeated Nigeria 2-0 in Monday’s last 16 game in Brasilia to set up a quarter-final meeting with Germany on Friday.
Under Deschamps’s steady guidance, France have risen majestically from the ashes of the chaotic 2010 campaign in South Africa.
But the skipper of the 1998 world title-winning side was keeping his feet firmly on the ground back at his squad’s Brazil headquarters in Ribeirao Preto on Tuesday.
“I’m a realist, my target, like my players, is Friday,” he aaid the day after goals from Paul Pogba and an own goal from Joseph Yobo downed Nigeria.
Deschamps, 45, added: “It doesn’t serve any purpose to look any further ahead.
“The reality now is Germany on Friday.
“Everyone can dream, including me, but I’m a pragmatist and a realist, Friday is the only thing that counts.”
Deschamps, who succeeded fellow World Cup and Euro 2000 winner Laurent Blanc as national coach after Euro 2012, rejected the notion that France were favourites against Germany, but at the same time made clear his team weren’t going to Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana “as tourists”.
“We’re going there to give it everything we’ve got.”
Reflecting on France’s progress through to the last eight after topping their first round group he stated: “We haven’t made a mess of our World Cup.
“I’m very proud and the players deserve it, it’s a huge pleasure for me and my staff to be involved on a daily basis with them and to manage them, to be with them.
“But we’re not going there (to Rio de Janeiro) as tourists on Friday.”
He downplayed any lingering significance of the memorable 1982 World Cup semi-final between the two teams.
The game in Seville attained notoriety when Germany keeper Harald Schumacher shoulder-charged Patrick Battiston, leaving the Frenchman unconscious on the ground.
“They (his players) weren’t even born then, what would I speak to them about?
“Joachim Loew (Germany coach) is completely right. Have respect for former players and what’s taken place but we’re not playing against old rivals.”