Didier Deschamps comes into the FIFA World Cup 2022 as the manager of defending champion France. He guided Les Bleus to its second World Cup title in 2018 in Russia. He became only the third person ever to win the Cup both as a captain and coach after Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.
A former defensive midfielder, Deschamps captained France to its maiden World Cup title on home soil in 1998. As a coach, he also guided France to the 2016 Euro Cup final but lost to Portugal.
However, after its second World Cup triumph, France was knocked out by Switzerland in the Euro 2020 pre-quarterfinals in a penalty shoot-out. The defeat saw him switching to the 4-3-1-2 system from the existing 3-4-1-2, which he used in the Euro. The result was inevitable: France won the Nations League, beating Spain 2-1 in the final.
As Deschamps leads France into the Qatar World Cup, he stands a chance to equal Vittorio Pozzo’s record of being the only coach to win the World Cup twice.
But France’s recent performance has been far from impressive, with three wins in eight competitive matches. Moreover, the loss of the last edition’s heroes Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante to injuries will force Deschamps to use Real Madrid’s Aurelien Tchouameni as a holding midfielder. Adrien Rabiot, who lacks international experience, and Matteo Guendouzi or Youssouf Fofana will occupy the midfield along with Aurelien. The success of France will depend on how these players control the midfield, and it will determine Deschamps’ future with France.