PARIS: Didier Deschamps will remain as coach of France and lead them into the looming 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign despite their stunning upset by Portugal in the European Championship final.
France turned to Deschamps when the pressure was on and he narrowly missed a triumph that would have made him one of French football’s true greats.
“The disappointment is there and it’s immense,” Deschamps said after the 1-0 defeat on Sunday. “We’ve let a big chance to be champions pass us by.”
But the 47-year-old, who won the World Cup and European Championship as captain of France, has no intention of quitting. His contract runs through the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“It is lined up like that. I am not going to think about myself,” he said.
“I will need time to digest everything. The players are going to start again at their clubs. I am going to analyze things with my staff and we will start again on what is waiting for us in two years.”
Deschamps said that “disappointment dominates” among the players after the Stade de France defeat, but that the new generation led by the tournament’s top goalscorer Antoine Griezmann would improve.
“Compared to two years ago, when we were in the World Cup, there we were in a final (on Sunday).
“The young ones will get better and I am very proud by what has been achieved by this group.
“We went to the end. We did not get the reward but I have an extraordinary squad available.”
Deschamps is one of the rare footballers with the tactical and psychological mastery to play and manage to such success in a major tournament.
As captain of France in 1998 he took control of the dressing room and kept the lid on hothead talents such as Zinedine Zidane as the team won the World Cup on home territory.
He gave up international football after winning the European title in 2000.
Deschamps became coach of Les Bleus in 2012 with their reputation at an all-time low after a player revolt at the 2010 World Cup and top players facing sex-scandal charges.