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  • Julien Laurens Lauds 'Best Manager' Didier Deschamps for 'Relentless Pursuit of Trophies' with France
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  • 10 June 2024

Julien Laurens Lauds 'Best Manager' Didier Deschamps for 'Relentless Pursuit of Trophies' with France

France readies itself as a top contender for a third European title when UEFA Euro 2024 unfolds this summer. Julien Laurens extols Didier Deschamps, crediting him with embedding a winning mindset in the squad. Yet, questions linger over the team's cautious style. Les Bleus will commence their Euro journey against Austria on June 17, aiming to dominate from the start.

Laurens, previewing Euro 2024 in Germany, hails Deschamps as the finest manager in French football history. Deschamps joins the elite circle of Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer, having clinched the World Cup as both player and manager. His legacy began as captain of Les Bleus in 1998 and soared with the 2018 triumph in Russia. Despite a 12-year tenure marked by success, including a UEFA Nations League win and finals appearances in the 2022 World Cup and Euro 2016, Deschamps faces criticism for his defensive tactics.

"I consider Deschamps the greatest manager France has ever known," Laurens asserts. "The predecessors were commendable, but two World Cup finals, one Euro final, and one World Cup victory set him apart."

Laurens acknowledges Deschamps' milestones, highlighting the Nations League win despite the Euro 2020 letdown. He recalls the sting of losing to Switzerland on penalties after a 3-1 lead in the dying minutes. Deschamps' journey since 2012 reveals a long path of rebuilding and strategic victories. The 2014 World Cup showcased a reconstructed team that narrowly fell to Germany in the quarter-finals. Euro 2016, hosted on home turf, saw a near victory, and the 2018 World Cup win exemplified the unity and talent of stars like Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and N'Golo Kante.

Reflecting on Euro 2020, delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Laurens explains how Deschamps' "step back" proved costly. "After the World Cup win, he thought the squad could self-manage. But they faltered. He quickly recognized his error and corrected it at the 2022 World Cup. The performance excelled up to the penalty shootout against Argentina in the final, which ended unfortunately."

Laurens delves into the criticisms Deschamps encounters, particularly his defense-first approach. "Critics frequently emerge about his style. Deschamps himself admits to being a conservative manager, prioritizing defense. He won the 1998 World Cup with a formidable defense, a principle he still follows."

Deschamps' Italian coaching roots emphasize a solid defense, shunning an all-out attacking style. With talents like Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Kingsley Coman, and Antoine Griezmann, a defensive stance can seem counterproductive. Laurens observes, "Deschamps' cautious approach may seem at odds with such offensive talent. Yet, Deschamps, adept at media relations, remains undeterred by critics. If France stumbles at this Euro in Germany, critics will reappear."

Laurens believes France should have showcased better football under Deschamps but acknowledges the results and relentless pursuit of trophies. As Euro 2024 nears, the stakes heighten for Deschamps and his squad.

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