Deschamps praises 'great attitude' after France's revival

France forward Kylian Mbappe scoring the first goal in the 4-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Andorra on Tuesday. The French are now top of Group H on goal difference, bouncing back from a shock loss to Turkey last weekend.
France forward Kylian Mbappe scoring the first goal in the 4-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Andorra on Tuesday. The French are now top of Group H on goal difference, bouncing back from a shock loss to Turkey last weekend.PHOTO: REUTERS

ANDORRA LA VELLA • There was never any doubt that France would bounce back against minnows Andorra, after getting "a slap in the face" as they suffered their first defeat by Turkey last weekend.

The Group H whipping boys had lost their three previous meetings, letting in seven goals in the process, and they never looked capable of causing another upset as Didier Deschamps' men ran out 4-0 winners away on Tuesday night.

While the France boss fielded a strong line-up in Andorra, allowing the world champions to return to the top of the table on goal difference ahead of Turkey and Iceland, the 2-0 loss in the central Turkish city of Konya stung, prompting him to retain just four players from that Euro 2020 qualifying game.

Defenders Kurt Zouma, Clement Lenglet and Leo Dubois were all given their first starts, with the latter two making their debuts.

Kylian Mbappe opened the scoring with a chip before fellow forwards Wissam Ben Yedder and Florian Thauvin netted their first goals for Les Bleus before the break.

Zouma then made it a night to remember, bundling home the fourth for his maiden strike.

Afterwards, Deschamps hailed his much-changed team for "reacting well after not playing to our usual level on Saturday against a good Turkey team".

He said: "The important thing is that we are first in the group. It looked easy today and the intensity wasn't the same, but we played really well.

"There was a lot of application even if we would have liked a few more goals. I saw great attitude and a lot of commitment and seriousness. Now we have nine points, and we are going to go after all the points that are possible to get.

"These three points are just as much worth as in other games. The players now go on holiday with a good feeling, and they need it, because we continue in September."

Midfielder Paul Pogba, who kept his place from the Turkey match, also praised the "good performance", before urging his teammates to "stay on this mentality".

He added: "Matches like this are always the most difficult, mentally; you have to be prepared because you play against weaker players - while (still) respecting them."

In Reykjavik, Iceland beat Turkey 2-1 courtesy of a brace from defender Ragnar Sigurdsson, while the visitors replied through midfielder Dorukhan Tokoz.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'Deschamps praises 'great attitude' after France's revival'. Print Edition | Subscribe