Didier Deschamps

Getty Images

French men’s national team boots women from Clairfontaine training facilities


The French men’s national team has temporarily displaced the women’s squad from the national team training facilities just days before the country hosts the 2019 Women’s World Cup, continuing to shed light on the battle for gender equality in the sport.

With the men’s side gearing up for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra, they have taken over the main national team facilities at Clairefontaine, with the women temporarily relocated to a training facility at Domaine de la Voisine on the outskirts of Paris.

The women are set to begin Women’s World Cup play on June 7 with the opening game of the tournament against South Korea. The men, meanwhile, have a home friendly against Bolivia on June 2, followed by the away Euro qualifiers at Turkey on June 6 and against Andorra on June 11. The men’s friendly against Bolivia is on the complete opposite end of the country from Clairfontaine, taking place in Nantes at Stade de la Beaujoire.

Men’s team manager Didier Deschamps looked to downplay the situation, saying, “They will have Clairefontaine at their disposal for the whole duration of the World Cup so there is no debate. It’s temporary, until we leave for Turkey on June 6.”

Gender inequality has been a hot-button topic in the sport over the last few years, with many top stars in the women’s game speaking out to various lengths. The United States women’s national team is embroiled in a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination, while Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg – fresh off her third straight Champions League victory with Lyon – will not play in the World Cup as she continues to boycott the Norwegian national team amidst a pay dispute.

PSG’s Neymar, Mbappe injured on international duty

Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Not a banner day for Paris Saint-Germain.

Both Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were injured on international duty Tuesday, the effects of which remain to be seen for the Ligue 1 club (Perhaps it could be an opening for American attacker Tim Weah, or a huge opening for Liverpool as the Reds prepare to face PSG in the Champions League).

[ USMNT: Player ratings | 3 things ]

A 1v1 challenge with Uruguay goalkeeper Martin Campana felled the 19-year-old Mbappe, and France coach Didier Deschamps did not have a decent prognosis.

From the BBC:

“He has a sore shoulder, he’s fallen badly. He will have to see with the medical staff. I hope it’s not bad.”

As for Neymar, he suffered “an adductor injury while taking a shot in the sixth minute, and left Brazil’s friendly against Cameroon in England.

Let’s throw it to the most quoted national team doctor in ProSoccerTalk history, Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar:

“He felt discomfort. He will need a bit more time to evaluate it and take a scan, but in principle it is not a serious injury.”

Deschamps believes Mourinho vs Pogba feud has been ‘exaggerated’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Paul Pogba has been a lightning rod at Manchester United, but his national team manager believes things are just fine at Old Trafford.

Didier Deschamps, who led Pogba and France to a World Cup title this summer, says that based his performance against Newcastle this past weekend, all is right with his star midfielder at the club level.

“I think it’s exaggerated,” Deschamps said at his press conference to kick off the international break. “Maybe you didn’t watch their last game, because I witnessed a great Paul Pogba. I think Jose saw the same thing as me. Some things happened and I think that, like is often the case, we make a big deal of something that isn’t.”

Pogba helped Manchester United overcome a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 and snap a four-match winless streak across all competitions. His relationship with United manager Mourinho has been a major talking point with rumors that Mourinho is reaching the end of his leash at Old Trafford.

“It’s true that there are some facts and some may have jumped to certain conclusions,” Deschamps said. “When I see how Paul behaves towards the situation at his club, some may say he’s done everything he could possibly do mentally and when it comes to his individual performances, to help the club. There is no issue with Paul. I don’t want to be mixed up with anything and to interfere with any player’s relationship with their coach.”

France is gearing up to take on Germany and Iceland this international break, and Pogba is expected to feature heavily after being named to the 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist.

Deschamps backs “leader” Pogba in ongoing feud with Mourinho

Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Like most of the rest of the world, Didier Deschamps has taken the side of Paul Pogba with regard to the French superstar’s ongoing feud with Jose Mourinho.

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League, Week 7? ]

While Mourinho, Pogba’s manager at Manchester United, has taken the extraordinary steps of telling the 25-year-old he’ll never captain the club again and attempting to expel him from a recent training session, Deschamps remains steadfast in his belief that Pogba is a highly influential, respected leader. He would know, of course, because he spent the summer winning the World Cup with Pogba and his French national team teammates — quotes from the Guardian:

“He has taken many things upon himself. He has been a leader. Each time he had to talk and express himself it was always very positive. It’s the words he uses and the atmosphere and feeling that comes across. He is not the only one but he is one of the leaders who took it upon himself because the group needed it. On the pitch he did what needed to be done as well.”

“There are a few things people ought to know. First of all, there is an image of Paul that doesn’t correspond to who he is. Maybe it is because he is a bit eccentric, a bit demonstrative. He has been with me since 2013 – that is five years now – and the way he functions is not about him for himself, it is him as part of the group. That is really important.

“His image in the media makes everything quite complicated. The amount of the transfer to Manchester United is ridiculous … it wasn’t easy to manage. During this World Cup, he managed to get a normal image back. The fact he talks, it liberates him a bit, but the most important thing is that Paul came to this World Cup with a very precise idea: he wanted to prepare himself to be world champion. That is what he had in his mind.”

Given the way Mourinho appears to be unraveling under the pressure, and the direction in which results have headed in recent weeks, the most likely outcome here is that Pogba outlasts Mourinho — who doesn’t survive the season — and is picked as the club’s permanent captain going forward by the next manager, in part to establish goodwill between himself and Pogba, but also because it’s the sensible move that anyone not named Mourinho would have already made.

Still party time for World Cup champion France in Nations League

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) Less than two months after claiming a second World Cup title, no wonder France is still in a partying mood.

After a summer of euphoria, Didier Deschamps’ players didn’t look ready against Germany in the teams’ opening UEFA Nations League match, which ended in a goalless draw. The French were on the back foot for long spells and avoided defeat only thanks to a series of outstanding saves from Paris Saint-Germain `keeper Alphonse Areola.

[ USMNT-BRAZIL: Full recap | Player ratings ]

Thursday’s game in Munich was France’s first match since it beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final in Moscow in July. Deschamps’ team kept the same style of play based on solid defending and counterattacks as in Russia, with not as much efficiency. Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante worked well in midfield but France’s attacking players Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann did not find each other, and did not look sharp enough.

“We wanted to come back with a win, but I think we are not ready, both physically and mentally,” Pogba said. “This is not easy following a World Cup like the one we did. We quickly got back to work, we would have needed more time to recover. But that’s football, we need to move on to something else and find new challenges.”

Next on the plate of Pogba and co. is the Netherlands, on Sunday at the Stade de France. Although the Nations League match against the Dutch has the ingredients required to be competitive – the Netherlands have missed out on both the 2016 European Championship and the World Cup and are eager to prove themselves against the world champions – the atmosphere in Saint-Denis will feel more like a celebration.

France’s players were treated like heroes on their return from Russia but were somewhat frustrated that their parade on the Champs Elysees on an open-top bus was limited to less than 15 minutes. Sunday’s match will give them a chance to celebrate properly in front of some 80,000 fans, and that’s one of the reasons why Deschamps wanted to keep his squad unchanged for the two September games, despite the poor form of some players.

The 23 world champions, including the injured Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda, will be at the Stade de France to attend the ceremony that will start right after the game, whatever its result. The French football federation said the sound and light show will consist of the France players introduced one by one before a lap of honor with the World Cup trophy.

Then it may well be times for changes.

“Newcomers could join us, and other players could return to the team,” Deschamps said this week when asked about the future of the World Cup squad. “We are supervising about 50 players and the door is not closed to anyone.”

Deschamps has the reputation of being conservative in his choices, yet only nine of the French players who featured at the 2016 European Championship two years ago took part in the World Cup campaign.

Up front, Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, who has not scored in his last 10 matches with France, could soon be in danger of losing his spot, to the benefit of players like Alexandre Lacazette, Kingsley Coman and Moussa Dembele.

In defense, Marseille center-back Adil Rami has been struggling recently, while Everton duo Kurt Zouma and Lucas Digne are making compelling cases for a return. It also remains to be seen whether defenders Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, who revealed themselves during the tournament, will be able to retain their starting spots at the expense of Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy.

In the long term, Areola looks also set to become the heir to Lloris when the Tottenham goalie calls time on his international career.

“You can expect everything,” Deschamps said.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports