MOSCOW, Russia - France coach Didier Deschamps said his team will be going all out to win their final World Cup group game against Denmark on Tuesday as they look to wrap up first place.
Deschamps is expected to make several changes for the encounter in Moscow with France guaranteed a spot in the last 16 following wins over Australia and Peru. Denmark require just a point to join France in the knockout stages, and could even pip Les Bleus to top spot in Group C with a victory.
"We are not going to give them a helping hand. Our goal is to guarantee first place and two results will allow that," Deschamps told reporters at the Luzhniki Stadium on Monday. "I would never say to my team that we're playing for a draw. I want my team to go out onto the pitch without any ambiguity and to do everything to win this match. I'm sure Denmark will also be playing to win."
Deschamps admitted he could rest players in danger of suspension, with midfield trio Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Corentin Tolisso all a booking away from missing the next match. "If I can preserve them, it's now," Deschamps said. "I won't be able to that after that."
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane looks likely to captain the side, with Steve Mandanda expected to start in goal ahead of regular skipper Hugo Lloris. "I have 23 players, they can all have a role to play and start a match," Deschamps added. "There are no risks, if they're here it's because they're ready to play."
Denmark coach Age Hareide made some unflattering remarks about France in the build-up to the tournament, calling them "nothing special". "Everyone is free to say what they want and accept responsibility. It wasn't a very nice thing," said Deschamps. "The players read and listen more than me. They know very well what the coach said. That's not what's going to fire up the players that are going to start tomorrow (Tuesday)."
Title contenders France have yet to hit top gear in Russia, churning out a 2-1 victory over Australia before scraping past Peru 1-0. Varane believes there is much more to come from the team, particularly going forward.
"I think we have progressed compared to the beginning of the competition," Varane said. "We have improved which is great and we need to carry on. In attack I think we can still progress, we can still hurt the opponent more. We saw it in different phases during our last game but we can do better. We have the quality to tear defences apart."AFP