In a difficult context, France stands at the forefront of history with a united wardrobe

Against the backdrop of a barely credible injury list, disputes over image rights and rumors of personal battles, this united France team is on the cusp of history… as William Saliba credits to Didier Deschamps the merit of having exploited a positive team environment

Peace has broken out in France’s World Cup camp as pre-tournament discontent gave way to harmony, camaraderie and joie de vivre as the defending champions seek to defend their trophy .

Horrible injury problems, image rights rows and alleged personal disagreements have eased and coach Didier Deschamps is now in charge of a team in unison as he prepares them for their last-16 clash against Poland on Sunday.

Arsenal defender William Saliba was just 10 when his country’s side went on strike in 2010 under manager Raymond Domenech. He therefore only knows life under a Deschamps regime which has France second favorites to lift the trophy behind Brazil.

France are a united team – something that could not be said of all their previous teams

The exceptional young centre-back has had to adapt to not being an automatic starter in Qatar, but he’s ready when his country needs him.

He said: “We have a great group life in the team. Everyone gets along and everything counts – not just when we’re playing on the pitch. We’ve been together for three weeks and the way we’re off land counts for the time we’re at it.

“I’m not disappointed to be a substitute. It’s my first World Cup. I’m only 21 and I’m young. All the players want to start, but it’s not possible so I just have to be ready if the coach calls on me again.

The 2010 campaign was defined by the team's rebellion against coach Raymond Domenech

The 2010 campaign was defined by the team’s rebellion against coach Raymond Domenech

Against the backdrop of a barely credible injury list and other reported problems, France looked like a strong chance to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend their crown.

Against the backdrop of a barely credible injury list and other reported problems, France looked like a strong chance to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend their crown.

“The coach makes us all feel involved. There are 25 of us here and we all hope to get to the end of the tournament.

“For me, the important players are the older players, those who have been here the longest. They give a lot of advice to players who are coming to their first World Cup, like me.

Antoine Griezmann, 31, is one of the World Cup stalwarts that Saliba talks about. Qatar are in their third final and the man of the match in France’s final loss to Croatia four years ago has confirmed he is also at peace on and on the pitch.

William Saliba - testifying to the harmony within the team - said he did not care about his place on the substitutes' bench

William Saliba – testifying to the harmony within the team – said he did not care about his place on the substitutes’ bench

Players cut figures relaxed in each other's company - it was not reported to be like this

Players cut figures relaxed in each other’s company – it was not reported to be like this

Moved back to Atletico Madrid after a trial period at Barcelona, ​​he credits Deschamps as the man of the plan.

The striker explained: “Our coach believes in us as a group, as a team. It’s up to us to have that mentality off and on the pitch.

‘We are on the right path. We are a group that lives well together. I also see him in training. Everyone gives 100% and we have the perfect setup to take us as far as possible.

” My joy of living ? Physically, I feel good and I have no problems in my personal life.

“I had difficult times at Barcelona, ​​for example, and even at Atletico it was complicated at the start.

“Now I find my bearings on and off the pitch. I am full of confidence with my club and the France team. I like to be needed.

Antoine Griezmann - a veteran of the team - said he feels fine without any problems in his life

Antoine Griezmann – a veteran of the team – said he feels fine without any problems in his life

Leave a Comment