Published : 2013-10-11 18:41
Updated : 2013-10-11 18:41
PARIS (AP) ― With Europe’s World Cup playoffs looming, France coach Didier Deschamps still does not know what his best team is.
France is second in Group I behind Spain and, barring a monumental collapse by the World Cup winner and two-time European champion, France will have to qualify through next month’s playoffs.
Deschamps has had a difficult time so far as coach, and injuries have played their part.
Ahead of Friday’s friendly against Australia and the final group qualifier against Finland on Tuesday, Deschamps is still trying to figure out who should be picked when the playoffs come around.
“Best XI? That can also evolve,” Deschamps said on Thursday. “Some choices are more difficult in one or two positions, three maximum.”
Pressed further if that means some fringe players could still force their way into the reckoning, Deschamps replied by saying “listen, yes, why not? It’s obviously better for them to play well tomorrow and on Tuesday” against Finland.
“I have the chance to make six changes in the first match, and give people a game. It will come into my mind when I make my choices. Of the 23, most of them will get to play. They won’t be two identical teams, but I’m not going to make 11 changes (for Finland), either. You still have to keep the spine of the team.”
He will likely pick a strong team against Australia, with important FIFA ranking points available.
The contest for the No. 9 jersey is intensifying between the out-of-sorts Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud.
Benzema has not scored in his past 15 games for France ― with a frustrated Giroud usually watching from the bench ― and is struggling for Real Madrid.