thumbnail Hello,

Despite Les Bleus’ excellent group stage performances, the coach wants more from his players ahead of their last-16 fixture on Monday

France coach Didier Deschamps has urged his players to improve ahead of their last-16 World Cup tie against Nigeria.

France outclassed Honduras 3-0 and put five past Switzerland before enjoying the luxury of resting some of their key players in a 0-0 draw with Ecuador that cemented their place as group leaders going into the knockout stages.

"I'm pretty happy with their performance [against Ecuador], even if I think we could have played better as a team," Deschamps said in an interview with “But it's important that as many players as possible are able to stay match-ready by getting playing time."

The 45-year-old also spoke about the ease with which France navigated the opening stage.

"It's a huge satisfaction for me and my staff," he said. "I'm proud of what the players have achieved.

“We need to appreciate this moment: when you look at the other matches, you realise that this is a very difficult World Cup. Some big nations have already been eliminated, but we're still here."

In addressing the only failure of the opening round, France’s inability to score against Ecuador, Deschamps was relaxed and keen to pinpoint the problem.

"We lacked efficiency, but we had a lot of chances," he said.

"We were very prolific in our games before that, and that was important. It would have been better to continue in the same vein, but that doesn't spoil our joy at having qualified."

Les Bleus meet the Super Eagles at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia at 1pm local time on Monday.