Deschamps settled on plan ahead of biggest Euro challenge yet

France coach Didier Deschamps unsurprisingly refused to reveal his tactical plan ahead of Thursday's Euro 2016 semi-final with Germany but said he has decided on what system will be used in the game.

"I have finished thinking about it but it is in my head and no one will get in there before tomorrow," he joked with reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

France thrashed Iceland 5-2 in the quarter-finals but both midfielder N'Golo Kante and centre-back Adil Rami are available again for the clash in Marseille after suspension.

There is also a question mark over whether Antoine Griezmann will continue to play off main striker Olivier Giroud or if he will be switched to a wide position.

Deschamps has appeared unsure of his strongest XI throughout the tournament and France emerged as winners of Group A despite unconvincing late wins over Romania and Albania, and a draw with Switzerland.

Even Ireland, in the last 16, led them at half-time before a Griezmann double saved the day.

Now facing World Cup winners Germany, who Deschamps described as the "best side in the competition," there can be no room for error.

“We’ve always had this confidence, and desire, to get to where we are today," he said. “It’s not been a linear process but the players have done everything needed to get to this point."

Rami is likely to be recalled in place of Samuel Umtiti alongside Laurent Koscielny at the heart of defence but Kante presents a bigger dilemma, if he returns at all.

Blaise Matuidi has been one of the few players Deschamps has considered undroppable in the tournament and Paul Pogba finally hit his full potential against Iceland.

So if Pogba is not dropped, Moussa Sissoko is the obvious fall-guy from the right of midfield but that would leave the side effectively in a classic 4-3-3, with Griezmann and Dimitri Payet either side of Giroud.

With Germany having conceded only once - a needless penalty at that - in their five games, it remains to be seen if that will suffice to trouble their backline.

“Germany are always used to dominating the opposition, hogging the ball – they typically have more possession than the opposition – but we can’t think about simply defending and trying to catch them out," Deschamps said.

"We simply have to play to the best of our ability."

France are seeking to become the first hosts to win the title since they themselves lifted the trophy in 1984, a precursor to their 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 triumphs.

“No-one can change history, but there are new chapters to be written," Deschamps said. "This page is blank and it’s up to the players to fill it."

Last update: Wed, 06/07/2016 - 15:54
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