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France coach Deschamps wants players to embrace growing expectation

Les Bleus head to Russia this summer as one of the favourites to win the World Cup.

Didier Deschamps has urged his France team to embrace the level of expectation around them to encourage the country’s full support at the World Cup.

Les Blues host Colombia on Friday in one of their final fixtures before heading to Russia for this summer’s competition, and do so amid the optimism that came with their run to the final of Euro 2016.

Progress made by highly-rated youngsters Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele has since given further cause to believe in their prospects of becoming world champions for the first time in 20 years.

Deschamps was asked at a press conference ahead of Friday’s friendly at the Stade de France if he could feel that excitement, and he said in quotes reported by the French media: “Already during the Euros, the stadium was full at all our matches. The France team is loved and supported.

“This is something very much appreciated by the players. They need it. This link with the supporters must be maintained. This is the last step before the competition.

“There is a growing expectation after our final at the Euros. This goes in the direction of what I like. People want to share emotions.”

The France coach has included among others Wissam Ben Yedder and Lucas Hernandez, respectively of Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, in his squad for the first time.

After facing Colombia they visit World Cup hosts Russia in St Petersburg on Tuesday, and Deschamps confirmed his new arrivals are in contention to make his summer squad.

“If they are there, it’s because they have a chance to be there after too,” he said. “If I call them, it’s already a positive sign.”

Regarding Friday’s opponents Colombia, who are also heading to the World Cup, Deschamps said:
“(Colombia coach) Jose Pekerman does a great job. It is a South American team with a lot of aggressiveness in defence and an important technical touch.

“It is important to play them because we will face Peru in the World Cup. Many of their players play or have played in France.”

Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris added: “It’s always interesting to confront the South American teams, who have the same characteristics, who are aggressive. We know that it will be a difficult meeting.”

Brighton’s Jose Izquierdo is among those in the Colombia squad, and the forward hopes his performances could lead to some of his compatriots establishing themselves in the Premier League.

“I am leaving the door open to other players from Colombia who have that dream to come here and prove that the players from Colombia are good,” he told the Brighton Argus.

“You see in this moment (Tottenham defender) Davinson Sanchez; there are players that did well in the Premier League.

“When you are doing well you open the door to players from your country who have the same dream.”

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