Deschamps: France is the favorite

The coach was in confident mood in his pre-match press conference ahead of Friday's World Cup quarterfinal clash at the Maracana
RIO DE JANEIRO —France coach Didier Deschamps insists his players are not afraid of Germany and are favorites for the World Cup quarterfinal clash at the Maracana on Friday.

Les Bleus take on their European rivals in a repeat of the famous 1982 semifinal. Germany’s general manager Oliver Bierhoff has claimed that Deschamps’ side is the favorite to reach the semifinals.

“Of course, I agree,” said Deschamps when asked in his pre-match press conference whether he agrees with Bierhoff.

“Nobody is afraid. Germany is very strong, with a lot of experience, but it’s a pleasure.

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“There is no pressure. I have nothing to tell the players. History is in the past and tomorrow we will try and write a new page.”

France comfortably finished top of Group E before beating Nigeria 2-0 in their last-16 match, but Deschamps accepts that Friday’s clash against Jochim Low’s side will provide his side's biggest test.

He added: “When you advance in this competition, it gets more difficult. I have a lot of respect for Nigeria but the German team is better. It will be more demanding.

“We have played a very good World Cup. Germany is used to playing quarterfinals and semifinals, they are very experienced but we will give it our all as well.

“Our players are very competitive, playing for top level major European clubs. We had to make them more united behind the same philosophy and same objectives. To be in the France team means they have a number of duties and responsibilities.

“Spirit has been very high since the start of the preparation and this has been very important.”