France trainer sends a warning to his squad.
Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps has warned his France players to focus on their World Cup qualifier with Georgia rather than their subsequent encounter with world and European champions Spain.
France will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in the double-header at the Stade de France, with Georgia to come first on Friday, March 22 before European and world champions Spain come calling on March 26.
Deschamps knows that the heavyweight showdown with the Spaniards will attract most of the attention but also knows that beating Georgia is arguably even more important.
“In our qualifying campaign, for the match against Spain to mean anything, we need first of all to win against Georgia,” he said in an interview published on the website of the French Football Federation on Tuesday.
“For the fans, it is as if the match against Georgia has already been won. We are not going to say that Georgia are one of the best nations in Europe but they have good players and are aggressive.
“It depends more on us and on our attitude.”
The former France captain also knows that there will still be work for Les Bleus to do even if they manage to take a maximum six points from the two matches.
“Even in the best possible scenario, nothing will be decided,” he went on. “The best we can hope for is to be in the best position in the group.”
France began their campaign with a 1-0 win in Finland and a 3-1 home victory against Belarus last autumn before a stoppage-time goal by Olivier Giroud earned them a 1-1 draw in Spain in October.
The point gained was just reward for a fine second-half performance in Madrid, and Deschamps knows what to expect from Vicente del Bosque’s side in the return.
“They will cause us a lot of problems, as they do for every team,” he said. “In the last game, the first half was difficult, very difficult at times.
“But we caused them a lot of problems in the second half.
“Spain are very strong when they attack and struggle more when they have to defend. We need to be capable of forcing them to defend.”
Deschamps will name his squad for the games on Thursday, March 14.