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PART1: Key “behind-the-scenes” moments from France’s route to 2018 World Cup Victory

Odiase osayande



France where crowned champions of the world back in Russia2018 after series of impressive performance through out the campaign.

But behind the scenes, a lot transpired which created a unity within the squad.

Ladies and Gentlemen Dockaysworld brings you an indept of everything that went on behind the scenes before and throughout the campaign.

24th May 2018 | 2 days after arriving at Clairefontaine,Didier Deschamps put his squad through a gruelling fitness session that required players to maintain a speed
of 15km/h for 4 minutes in 4 spells in quick succession. Griezmann smiled: “This is Easier than at Atletico.”

An evening in Clairefontaine | Paul Pogba & Griezmann watch the EURO 2000 final together, in which Deschamps (#7) played. Pogba comments genuinely: “The coach is
pretty good! Who is our 7?” He realises & laughs: “Of course, it is Grizi! You took #7 to be just like the coach!”

End of May | Griezmann’s future hangs over the squad -he has already decided to stay at Atletico, but wanted guarantees on the squad being strengthened. He duly
convinces Atleti to sign Thomas Lemar & Djibril Sidibé – a deal for the latter falls through over fitness concerns.

14th June | Griezmann’s decision on his future, with Barça after him, was aired by a Gerard Piqué-owned company in a vastly over-dramatised TV show. Deschamps was
unimpressed: “It is good this is over Antoine. Now we start competing & we focus solely on that.”

9th June | After a disappointing final friendly match draw with the United States (1-1) in Lyon, Deschamps’ post-match speech focuses on the positives: “We are missing things in our game, but don’t worry, we have worked a lot on our fitness & physicality.”

12th June | The boys arrive in Russia & the squad roles begin to form: Blaise Matuidi & Steve Mandanda = the sensible ones, Adil Rami = the joker, Benjamin Mendy =
the entertainer, Kylian Mbappé = the one everyone loves to annoy, Ousmane Dembélé & Presnel Kimpembe = DJs

Dembouz | Dembélé surprises the entire squad with his music taste, often blaring out 76-year-old French singer Michel Fugain’s “Une Belle Histoire” which brings
Mandanda to say: “So you have a rebellious streak on the pitch & you listen to this type of stuff?”

Dembouz | Dembélé also becomes the butt of all jokes upon arrival at French base camp in Istra, when he forgets his passport on the coach & fails to realise until he is
asked for it at the hotel reception – the bus driver had driven off a while ago, forcing him to turn back.


13th June | News filters that Spain have sacked Julen Lopetegui a day before the World Cup. Deschamps turns to FFF President Le Graët: “What would you do if this happened? (an offer from Real Madrid)” Le Graët: “I have it all planned: Ripoll (U21s coach) is already in Russia!”


14th June | Deschamps tells Olivier Giroud & Matuidi that they won’t be starting against Australia – both are furious
that they weren’t told earlier than 2 days before, especially as the coach had gone on about the importance of experience at this World Cup.

18th June | Deschamps rips into his players in a video session after a disappointing 2-1 win over Australia, going
in on Griezmann, Dembélé & Mbappé: “You ran 8 kilometres less than our opponent. Your pressing was disorganised. You didn’t do what I asked.”

18th June | Pogba pipes up to defend his team-mates: “But we didn’t understand your instructions.” Deschamps snipes back: “You didn’t understand my instructions? They were pretty simple: run, press together, fill in.”

18th June | In this video session, Deschamps knocks Dembélé for his poor dribbling & defensive efforts,
Griezmann for his lack of acceleration & Mbappé for not using his pace effectively: “You speed is your strength Kylian & you are not using it.”

21st June | In the elevator at base camp at Istra following the 1-0 win over Peru, assistant manager Guy Stéphan tells Matuidi that he received a 3/10 rating in L’Équipe: “In our eyes, you produced the exact match that we wanted you to.”

26th June | France qualify for the knockout stages with a 0-0 draw with Denmark. The squad is allowed to reunite with their families in Moscow but anger Deschamps by letting their girlfriends/wives into their hotel rooms after the permitted time. Rules are starkly reiterated.

READ: Reports: World Cup winning defender set for £77m record move


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