Didier Deschamps says his France side will not treat Iceland as a bunch of long-throw experts when the two sides meet in Sunday’s Euro 2016 quarter-final.
The Nordic nation progressed to the last eight by virtue of a shock 2-1 victory over England in Nice on Monday, with their first goal coming as a result of one such throw.
But while many have praised the minnows for their expertly choreographed routines Deschamps insists they have much more to their game.
“We’ve worked on things, but we know Iceland are not here by chance. They have not stolen their place here, and they are not just about the long throws it’s just that they have more throw-ins than corners so they make the most of it,” the France coach told a pre-match press conference.
“But they have a number of other attributes about their play, they don’t just loft the ball forward they also most the ball swiftly around the deck. They have players of athletic power but they have [Johann] Gudmundsson, [Birkir] Bjarnason and [Gylfi] Sigurdsson who are very technically gifted. What’s important is really making sure we are up to the challenge.”
Deschamps will be forced into a defensive change to the France side which saw off the Republic of Ireland in their round of 16 encounter due to the suspension of Adil Rami.
But while Barcelona-bound Samuel Umtiti has been tipped for an international debut, Deschamps has not ruled out calling upon Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala instead.
“Do you want me to tell you Eliaquim Mangala’s attributes too or are you not bothered?!” he joked when asked about the Lyon defender’s qualities.
“Samuel has a lot of experience because he has already played in the Champions League with Lyon and was an under-21 champion with France. He’s very strong in the challenge, is technically gifted with the first pass out of defence and is worthy of being an international player as well as earning a potentially big move.”
The clash with Iceland takes place on Sunday at the Stade de France, with the winners facing Germany or Italy in Thursday’s second semi-final.