France coach Didier Deschamps is not yet thinking about attempting to retain the World Cup after signing a new contract.

Deschamps agreed a new deal on Tuesday that takes the coach through to the end of Qatar 2022.

France will first attempt to follow their successful campaign at Russia 2018 by claiming European Championship glory for the first time since 2000 next year.

Les Bleus were runners-up at Euro 2016, with Deschamps hoping to go one step further than their defeat to Portugal on home soil.

"It is an honour for me to be the coach of France," Deschamps told a news conference. 

"You know the attachment I continue to have for what this jersey represents.

"Sincerely, I thank the [French Football Federation] president [Noel Le Graet] for his confidence. The quality of our relationship is very important to me.

"There are still many things to do. Many have already been done. We are world champions in title. We are judged by the results.

"I am happy in my job. I have the best French players, with a remarkable state of mind. There are still beautiful things to do.

"Qatar is very far away. The goal is the Euros… My energy and that of my staff are focused on it."

No team has retained the World Cup since the great Brazil side featuring Pele won the tournament in 1958 and 1962.

Didier Deschamps will lead France in their World Cup defence after committing to Les Bleus through to the end of their Qatar 2022 mission.

The new deal for the head coach, confirmed at a news conference in Paris, rewards the former midfielder for his ongoing success with the national team.

Deschamps was contracted until the end of Euro 2020 but has committed for a further two and a half years to take in another World Cup trophy quest.

The Qatar finals take place from November 21 until December 18, and if Deschamps sees out his contract he will complete a full decade in his post.

Appointed in July 2012, initially on a two-year deal, he oversaw France's Euro 2016 campaign on home soil, where they lost to Portugal in the final.

Les Bleus went one better at Russia 2018, a 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final seeing Deschamps match the feat of Franz Beckenbauer with West Germany and Mario Zagallo with Brazil in becoming a World Cup winner both as a player and as a manager.

He was captain of France's triumphant 1998 team and played most notably at club level for Marseille and Juventus, winning the Champions League with both.

Fernando Santos has claimed defending champions Portugal are outsiders in a Euro 2020 group containing "two favourites" in France and Germany.

The three heavyweights were drawn together in a tough-looking Group F for next year's tournament, with a play-off contestant still to be added.

France and Germany will enter as winners of the past two World Cups, while Portugal are preparing to defend the trophy they unexpectedly won in 2016.

Santos' side were also crowned inaugural Nations League champions in June but the wily 65-year-old coach quickly positioned his team as underdogs.

"It will be a strong group, two favourites and a candidate," Santos told reporters.

"[France and Germany] have a responsibility to win and they have to assume that responsibility. We will believe in our possibilities. We come as candidates and obviously we want to win.

"Two world champions, a European champion and winner of the Nations League – I think this is a group that nobody wanted because each team wanted to avoid the other two.

"Everyone will respect each other and just wait to see who will be the fourth."

Portugal finished second behind Ukraine in their qualifying group, losing once and drawing twice in eight games.

Didier Deschamps accepted France faced a huge test at Euro 2020 as Germany coach Joachim Low had no doubt Group F was the "group of death".

World champions France were drawn alongside Euro 2016 winners Portugal and Germany, plus a play-off winner, in the group on Saturday.

Deschamps acknowledged his team would be challenged in Group F, which will be played in Budapest and Munich.

"It's a difficult group, but I think that Joachim Low and Portugal head coach [Fernando Santos] think the same thing. It's the hardest group, but we have to accept it," he said.

"We will need to be ready at the beginning of the competition because our first game will be against Germany in Munich. They will play at home.

"On paper, it's a tough group. These two teams have many qualities and they recently had good results."

France's first match will be against Germany at the Allianz Arena on June 16 before playing two games in Budapest.

Deschamps said: "It could be better, but what can we do? Germany and Portugal are in our group. We know when we will play and where.

"We still have to wait to know our third opponent. But we already know the quality of two of our opponents. So we can prepare to be ready for the match day."

Low was surprisingly happy about getting the opportunity to play against France and Portugal, but said it was undoubtedly the toughest group.

"At first I feel joy because these are highlight games against France and Portugal. We play against the reigning world champions and European champions," the Germany coach said.

"I think the players are also looking forward to these games. Of course it's a group of death. Everyone in this group has to go to the limit if they want to get ahead.

"But I think that these games will be football festivals. Then we also play in Germany. I'm looking forward to it."

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Holders Portugal will face world champions France and fellow heavyweights Germany in a daunting Group F at Euro 2020.

Saturday's draw in Bucharest pitted Fernando Santos' men and their talismanic captain Cristiano Ronaldo against the winners of the two World Cups either side of their Euro 2016 triumph.

It means Didier Deschamps' Bleus will have an opportunity for revenge after Portugal beat them on home soil at the Stade de France to lift the trophy.

The nation with the dubious pleasure of joining them is still to be determined. Iceland, Bulgaria or Hungary would claim the fourth spot if they progress through their play-off route in Path A.

However, if Romania are victorious in Path A, they will go into Group C with Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria.

In permutations that underline the convoluted and criticised format, one of Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo from play-off Path B would enter Group F if Romania qualify. Otherwise, the winner of Path B goes into Group C.

Italy open the tournament, which will take place across 12 host cities, when they entertain Turkey in Rome on June 12. Wales and Switzerland are also in Group A.

England and Croatia renew acquaintances at Wembley in Group D – Gareth Southgate's men having been sunk by a Mario Mandzukic winner in the semi-finals of Russia 2018 before progressing to the Nations League Finals at the expense of Zlatko Dalic's team.

There is the possibility of an all-British encounter if Scotland prevail from their play-off path alongside Israel, Norway and Serbia, while Czech Republic will meet England again in the finals having traded victories with the Three Lions during qualification.

Group B is the second group not waiting to see how play-off cards fall, with the world's number-one ranked team Belgium lining up alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Spain are aiming to make it three European titles in four attempts after securing glory in 2008 and 2012.

They head up Group C, where the winner of the play-off route including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland will round out the line-up alongside Sweden and Poland.

The Euro 2020 play-offs take place during next March's international break.

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Robert Pires hopes France are paired with a reinvigorated and "motivated" England in the Euro 2020 group stage.

Both sides finished top of their qualifying groups to get their name in the hat for Saturday's draw in Bucharest.

England will host a total of seven matches in next year's finals and are in Pot 1, while France - despite being world champions - are in Pot 2.

Former Arsenal winger Pires would like to see his native France face off against Gareth Southgate's side, who he believes will be a big threat in the tournament.

"What's for sure is that we're going to draw a big team because unfortunately we're in Pot 2," he told Omnisport, speaking as part of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour driven by Nissan.

"Which one I would like to play against? France-England would be nice. 

"I think that we're strong but the English are having a renaissance and Southgate has built a good team, quite young, with a bit of experience and they can be a good surprise during the next Euros. 

"And as you know the final is in London so they will be motivated."

One team Pires is eager for France to avoid is Spain, who qualified for the competition with an unbeaten record that sets them out among the favourites.

"The team to avoid is always Spain," added Pires, who won the World Cup and European Championship during his playing days.

"They remain very strong, they're very skilled and they cause problems to us every time."

Kingsley Coman was back running at Bayern Munich's training ground after leaving the France squad early with a muscle problem.

Coman was forced off in the 88th minute of France's 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Moldova on Thursday. He was sent home early by France, meaning he missed Sunday's 2-0 away win in Albania.

An examination by Bayern's chief medical officer Dr. Hans Muller-Wohlfahrt revealed a muscle hardening in his thigh.

Bayern said the former Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus forward would undertake a reduced training programme following the injury but he appeared to making progress at the club's Saebener Strasse training ground on Tuesday.

The defending Bundesliga champions are third in the table, four points adrift of leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

Bayern visit Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday, before travelling to Serbia to face Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.

Antoine Griezmann accepts his integration to life at Barcelona has not been easy but remains convinced he will be successful at Camp Nou.

After over a year of speculation and transfer rumours, Barca finally secured the signing of Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, triggering his €120million release clause.

While his haul of four LaLiga goals and three assists in 11 matches is hardly alarming, Griezmann's performances have generally failed to inspire much excitement from fans, leaving them somewhat underwhelmed.

It was thought the forward's arrival would alleviate some of the pressure on talisman Lionel Messi, but the Argentina superstar continues to shoulder much of the creative burden.

After Barca coach Ernesto Valverde recently suggested the Frenchman still needs to adapt to the team's style of play, Griezmann is confident of improving with time and has no doubts over his decision to join Barca.

"Barcelona is not the easiest place [to play]," he said in an interview with Telefoot. "It's a new team, a different club, new tactics and a new position and role for me. But it is what it is and it's time to work.

"I'm proud of the decision and where I am, and it will be the work that sorts everything. Trust me and everything will good.

"My goal now is to be an important player in the club, have more minutes, score more goals, make decisive passes, qualify in the Champions League and be up there in the league, be ready for the national team [France] in March and also for Euro 2020.

"I'm a player who thinks about the team. I can score many goals, but that is not my main goal. My goal is to help the team in any way I can."

Karim Benzema has told French football chief Noel Le Graet to stop interfering after claiming the Real Madrid striker would never play for his country again.

The 31-year-old last turned out for Les Bleus in a 4-0 win over Armenia in October 2015, since when he has been conspicuous by his absence from every squad selected.

Despite being a talisman for one of the biggest clubs in world football, the door appears closed to Benzema when it comes to Didier Deschamps' France team.

Since 2015, Benzema has strenuously denied any wrongdoing in an alleged attempt to blackmail former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

He has not played for France since the allegations were made, and that appears unlikely to change whatever the circumstances after Le Graet this week vowed a Benzema recall was out of the question.

Le Graet spoke out days after Real Madrid's French boss Zinedine Zidane said Benzema should "definitely" be recalled by Deschamps.

"Karim Benzema is a very good player, I've never doubted his qualities," French Football Federation president Le Graet told RMC Sport. "On the contrary, he shows with Real Madrid that he is one of the best players in his position. But the adventure with France is finished."

That prompted a seething response from Benzema, who wrote on Twitter: "Noel I thought that you wouldn't interfere in the coach's decisions!

"[You should] know that it's me and me alone who will put an end to my international career.

"If you think I'm finished, let me play for one of the countries for which I'm eligible and we'll see."

Benzema, who comes from Algerian heritage, scored 27 goals in 81 appearances for France before being sidelined from the national team.

With Real Madrid he has won a host of trophies, including the Champions League on four occasions, and with nine goals this season he is LaLiga's top scorer.

World champions France play Albania on Sunday in their final Euro 2020 qualifier, already assured of a place at next year's finals.

Didier Deschamps was not impressed with France's first-half performance against Moldova, insisting Euro 2020 qualification did not justify a below-par showing in their 2-1 win.

France booked their place at next year's finals before playing on Thursday, as Turkey drew at home to Iceland to ensure the visitors could not catch either their opponents or the world champions.

But rather than celebrate in style, France started sloppily in a Group H qualifier packed with decisive errors in Paris.

Clement Lenglet handed Moldova's Vadim Rata the opener, but Raphael Varane profited from Alexei Koselev's mistake, before Olivier Giroud sealed victory from the penalty spot.

With France still battling for seeding in the Euros draw, head coach Deschamps was concerned by the substandard early display.

"I do not think [qualifying explains a poor performance] and I hope not because it's not enough to be qualified," he said. "The possibility of finishing first remained with a victory.

"We conceded the goal on an error, but our first half was insufficient. I am not satisfied with the attacking play in the first period.

"The second was more consistent, even if we lacked efficiency. We had 17 attempts, not always on target. But in the first half, we had too few.

"There was a tendency to ask for the ball only to feet and not in behind. There was not enough movement and availability. It was too static, there was a lack of mobility."

Deschamps confirmed he had delivered some home truths at half-time, adding: "I can sometimes be hard, very hard with them

"There is so much potential in this team that, when I do not see what I want to see, I say it."

Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann have cited a half-time team talk from Didier Deschamps as the key to France's 2-1 win over Moldova.

Thanks to Turkey's goalless draw with Iceland in Group H's early kick-off, France already had their place at Euro 2020 secured heading into Thursday's encounter at Stade de France.

However, Clement Lenglet's early error gifted Moldova the lead, with Raphael Varane pouncing on a mistake from Alexei Koselev to pull France level.

An improved second-half display followed from Les Bleus, though it was not until Lucas Digne drew a foul from Veaceslav Posmac that the home side got their winner – Giroud slamming in from the spot.

Giroud has now scored in his past three France appearances and acknowledged the 2018 World Cup winners needed some tough love from their coach at the interval.

"I could have, we could have scored well before the penalty," Giroud told French television channel M6.

"We did not start as we should have done. We had a lack of aggression in everything we did, in the duels, in the decision-making and in the desire to do things right.

"In the second half there was much more intensity and accuracy with much better intentions so we created many opportunities.

"You have to know how to have solutions, that's what the coach stressed at half-time and he wanted more movement from our forwards.

"We tried hard to listen to him and offer more solutions in this area of our game and we created many opportunities."

Barcelona forward Griezmann echoed Giroud's comments, while lamenting his side's first-half performance.

"It's true that we did not have a good match, especially in the first half," Griezmann told reporters.

"The coach at half-time boosted us so we reacted a bit. Even if it showed that we were not well, especially in front of goal, we went on to get this victory."

The Czech Republic secured their qualification for Euro 2020 with a dramatic comeback win over Kosovo in Thursday's crucial Group A encounter.

Kosovo – who are guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their efforts in the UEFA Nations League – needed to avoid defeat at Doosan Arena to keep their chances of automatic qualification alive.

The visitors looked set to cause an upset when Sheffield Wednesday forward Atdhe Nuhiu put them ahead with a superb header in the 50th minute.

But the Czechs fought back, Alex Kral's stunning hit pulling them level before the midfielder provided the assist for Ondrej Celustka's winner eight minutes later as Jaroslav Silhavy's side completed the comeback to book their place at next year's tournament.

Elsewhere in Group A, leaders England wrapped up progression with a thumping 7-0 demolition of Montenegro at Wembley.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkey ensured their qualification with a 0-0 draw against Iceland – a result which also guaranteed France's spot in the finals, with the world champions coming from behind to defeat Moldova 2-1.

Despite a 6-0 win over Lithuania, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, reigning champions Portugal must beat Luxembourg in their final match to take their place at the finals.

Spain, Belgium and Italy had already confirmed their places last month, with Ukraine, Russia and Poland having also sealed qualification.

France marked their qualification for Euro 2020 with a 2-1 victory as Olivier Giroud's penalty ended Moldova’s resistance at Stade de France.

Turkey's draw with Iceland earlier on Thursday had lifted any pressure off France, guaranteeing their place at next year's tournament, and Didier Deschamps' side put in a rather underwhelming display in Paris.

With no requirement to win, France made a sloppy start - calamitous Clement Lenglet defending handing Vadim Rata a chance to put Moldova ahead.

Alexei Koselev's error gifted Raphael Varane an equaliser, though, and France moved top of Group H when Giroud sent Moldova's goalkeeper the wrong way after Lucas Digne had been scythed down.

Against the run of play, Moldova hit the front in the ninth minute as Lenglet twice failed to clear with attempted headers - Rata nipping in to steer the visitors into an unlikely lead.

Benjamin Pavard went close to an immediate equaliser with a dipping half-volley, while Giroud should have done better from Digne's cross.

Giroud did play a part in France's leveller 10 minutes before the break, standing his ground as Koselev - who wanted a free-kick - let the ball slip from his grasp, allowing Varane on hand to head home.

Kylian Mbappe seemed set to make it 2-1 early in the second half, only for his goal-bound strike to be blocked by a Moldova defender, before Giroud volleyed over from close range.

For all their domination, France's efforts looked likely to prove fruitless, until Veaceslav Posmac's reckless lunge on Digne.

Giroud made no mistake, slamming in his third goal in as many appearances to complete the comeback with 11 minutes remaining.

 

What does it mean? France join the party

France's qualification was already ensured, meaning Les Bleus - beaten finalists at Euro 2016 - will now take part in their 13th successive major international competition, and Deschamps' focus will now be on securing top spot in Group H.

Giroud's run rolls on

He may not be getting much of a chance at Chelsea, but Giroud is one of the first names on Deschamps' team sheet and, while he missed some presentable chances, still kept up his fine run of form on the international stage.

Lenglet left red-faced - but Koselev lets him off the hook

Barcelona centre-back Lenglet should have coped comfortably with a high ball by heading it back to Steve Mandanda, but Koselev helped France recover, the keeper fazed by Giroud’s presence to gift Varane an equaliser.

What's next?

Les Bleus round off their qualification campaign against Albania on Sunday, while Moldova host Iceland.

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