The 45-year-old is eager for the former Lyon star to finally prove his worth for Les Bleus and is anticipating a difficult match in his side’s opening match of the tournament
By Matheus Harb in Porto Alegre
France boss Didier Deschamps is hoping Karim Benzema can replicate his Real Madrid form when Les Bleus open their World Cup campaign against Honduras on Sunday.
Benzema has often struggled on the international stage but shone brightly in France’s final warm-up fixture, an 8-0 thrashing of Jamaica, playing on the left-side of a front three which also included Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Valbuena.
And having helped Madrid land the Champions League crown at the end of last season with five goals and five assists in the competition, Deschamps is eager for the former Lyon man to finally show his best form for his country.
“He has always played at a high level, although he has had some downs,” he said at Saturday’s press conference.
“But we have all seen what he has done for Real Madrid, how relaxed and concentrated he is. And that’s good.”
With Antoine Griezmann also coming into contention for a starting berth, Deschamps has plenty to ponder, but the World Cup winner is satisfied that whatever XI he picks will go into the game on the back of a near-perfect build-up.
“We have prepared the best way possible. With the friendlies we played, the training sessions, everything for this match. But it’s what we’ll do tomorrow that matters,” Deschamps added.
“We won’t change anything now, or get more anxious just because the match is just around the corner.”
Deschamps is not expecting an easy game against a physical Honduras side.
“There is a more aggressive side to their play, but I won’t limit my players because of that.
“Honduras is a team that has been playing like this for two years. We all know about their 4-4-2 formation, and how dangerous their strikers can be.
“I saw them against England [in a warm-up game], they are focused and prepared.
“They are a quality side from the Americas, there is more to them than just the aggression.”