France coach Didier Deschamps said he could replace suspended midfielder Blaise Matuidi with Nabil Fekir and called for his side to be patient in order to break down Uruguay’s defensive organization.
Speaking to reporters before Friday’s World Cup quarter-final here, Deschamps said: “This Uruguayan side has a different profile from Argentina. We have to be very patient. They are extremely well organised in defence.”
Elaborating on Uruguay’s style of play, Deschamps said: “If they need 10 players to defend, they will do that. When they don’t have ball possession, they know what to do; everybody defends, even the striker defends.”
There’s more to Uruguay than just defending, he said. “They can counter-attack very quickly. We must also bear in mind that this is a team that knows how to take advantages of set-pieces.”
Deschamps said he will prepare his team bearing in mind that injured forward Edinson Cavani could start. “I am preparing my team for Cavani. Whether he plays or not, we will know tomorrow. If he doesn’t play, (Oscar) Tabarez has other options. I have prepared my team keeping different options in mind.”
“I have other players with profiles which are not the same as Matuidi. We have a certain style and a general football idea. So, we have players who don’t have the same profile but we want the team to be recognisable. Fekir doesn’t even play in the same position (as Matuidi). But Fekir has attacking skills, he can win one-on-one situations,” he said.
Deschamps said it could work to Antoine Griezmann’s advantage that he is a teammate of Uruguay centre-backs Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. “It’s true that Gimenez and Godin know Antoine but Antoine knows them also. So he knows their strengths and probably their weaker points as well.”
France captain Hugo Lloris said that this World Cup could be the one that lifts midfielder Paul Pogba to the status of a great. “He is maturing, he is growing, he is accumulating experience. He is starting to grow in the locker room as well.
“And that’s good because he is a true leader. These big competitions are important to reveal the true talent of players and I think that’s going to be the case with Paul as well.”