By Greg Stobart at the Estadio Maracana
France coach Didier Deschamps believes his players are performing to their potential because they now have the backing of the French public.
Les Blues struggled in qualifying and only booked their place in the World Cup finals after scraping through a play-off with Ukraine last November with a 3-2 aggregate victory.
But France have started the World Cup in superb form, winning both of their Group E fixtures to reach a position in which they are all but mathematically assured of winning the group ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Ecuador.
France have scored eight goals in the tournament so far and Deschamps believes an improved relationship with the French public is behind the upturn in performances.
“We definitely had a tough qualifying campaign but now the players are living in a very strong moment with the French public, and they have since the Ukraine games,” Deschamps said on Tuesday.
“The players are very proud of wearing the national shirt. You have duties when you play for your country and the players I have selected in the squad all understand that.”
Deschamps will make a number of changes to his starting line-up for the Ecuador fixture at the Maracana – but he insists he will not ‘throw away’ the match and risk losing momentum.
He added: “It is a World Cup game, there is pressure. I am not throwing away the game at all. We need to continue our positives.
“I don’t want to have a brand new team with people who have never played together.
“We have been very efficient and we have scored a lot of goals. The objective is to win the match against Ecuador. I have too much respect for them to say we will have an easy game tomorrow.”