Belfast Telegraph

My men will be fired up by Hareide's criticism: Deschamps

Denmark v France: Group G, Luzhniki Stadium, Today, 3pm

Step back: Age Hareide tried to play down his comments
Step back: Age Hareide tried to play down his comments

By Matt Slater

Denmark coach Age Hareide may regret making dismissive remarks about France before the World Cup when they meet in Moscow today, opposite number Didier Deschamps has warned.

Last month, Hareide said that France are "nothing special" and lack leaders, and said Paul Pogba cares more about his hair than his football.

France are expected to make several changes, but Deschamps said Denmark would be given no "helping hand" and his objective was clear: win and top the group.

Deschamps' men have already qualified for the knockout stages after wins over Australia and Peru, but Denmark, on four points, need a draw to guarantee a place in the last-16.

Asked if Hareide's comments would "add salt to the contest", Deschamps said: "Salt, pepper, vinegar, whatever you wish - anybody can say what they want but they have to take responsibility for their words.

"It wasn't nice, but my players know what the coach said."

On his line-up for the Group C decider, Deschamps admitted this game was his last chance to rest and rotate players but denied it would be a "risk", as every player in the France squad is good enough to step in.

He also gave short shrift to the idea this could be Pogba's last World Cup, an idea that surfaced after the Manchester United midfielder made a comment about the scrutiny he is under in France and elsewhere.

Deschamps pointed out his playmaker is only 25, "so it's highly probable he will play in another World Cup", and said Pogba was "good in his head, happy and very motivated".

Hareide claimed his negative assessment of this French vintage had been taken out of context, as he was only comparing the team with the 1998 World Cup winners, "the best version of the French team we've seen".

In fact, the Norwegian did his best to row back by praising Deschamps' "excellent players" and describing Pogba as a "player without equal in Europe".

France defender Raphael Varane had earlier been asked if he and his team-mates are fed up with being compared to that side, but said: "No, not all. We won the World Cup! We can get inspiration from what they did."

Belfast Telegraph


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