Macdara Ferris reports from Paris
We didn’t quite get a reference from Didier Deschamps about the Boys in Green playing a British style of football, but the World Cup-winning captain and current French boss called out the Republic of Ireland as a direct team.
The French manager is using these pre-match friendlies against the Republic of Ireland in Paris on Monday, Italy in Nice on Friday and the USA in Lyon on 9 June as preparation for his team’s World Cup group games.
Ranked seventh in the world, Deschamps’ team will play their first game at the World Cup in Russia against Australia in Kazan. They will then take on Peru and Denmark in their remaining group games.
“We are looking at the profile of the team [when choosing these friendlies],” said Deschamps in the Stade de France on Sunday.
“Ireland has a direct style of play which is a little bit like the Australian team; Colombia and Peru are also similar.”
France’s tournament preparations so far this year have included a 3-2 home loss to Colombia before a 3-1 win over World Cup hosts Russia in late March in St. Petersburg.
That point about matching up friendly opposition with future competitive opponents was echoed by Juventus player Blaise Matuidi, who also spoke to the media on the eve of the game.
“You try and look for opponents who look like the ones you will face in the World Cup,” said Matuidi. “Ireland is a little bit like the profile of Denmark.”
Dechamps talked up the difficulty that Ireland can bring to this fixture against France.
“I don’t want the Irish journalists to think that we chose Ireland because we thought we’re going to have fun and we were going to win!”
The teams last met in Lyon in the last sixteen of Euro 2016 with Antoine Griezmann scoring two second half goals in the 2-1 win.
“We played Ireland in the Euros and it was very hard. We chose this team because they have the same profile as the ones we are going to face in the World Cup, and it’s going to be a tough game, I can tell you that.”
Deschamps priority is to give game time to as many players as possible and he won’t be wrapping them up in cotton wool. “You can’t be careful in those games. There is more risk of getting injured. We have come out of a very intense week of training. We will go for it.”
extratime.ie will be reporting from the Stade de France in Paris on Monday bringing you all the pre-match buildup, match updates and post-match reaction.