The curriculum between them can even be different, but the technicians of France and England, Didier Deschamps and Gareth Southgate, have their similarities. The main one is the way in which they reach the quarterfinals of the world Cup, honored by their Federations. Even with morale, both do not have their future defined after the competition. The decision to follow, or not, will be up to the professionals themselves.
In the case of Deschamps, the feeling could be the end of a cycle, as he managed the French to the world title four years ago, in Russia, and could repeat the feat in Qatar this year. If that happens, in addition to the third championship, France will be the first European team to win the World Cup twice in a row in 84 years – the only one so far being Italy, in 1934 and 1938.
On the other hand, Didier Deschamps has the shadow of Zinédine Zidane. One of the greatest idols of French football has already proven himself as a coach in two successful spells at Real Madrid, Spain, between 2016 and 2019. For the meringues, Zizou won the Champions League three times, in addition to other titles such as: the Spanish, the Spanish Super Cup, the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup.
However, this Tuesday, Noël Le Graët, president of the FFF, told the newspaper Fígaro that he never called Zidane and that, if it were up to him, it was Deschamps who would remain in charge of Les Bleus.
– I never called Zidane in my life, contrary to what some suggest. It would have been wrong of me. No one around me called him for me in any case, – said the president.
This isn’t the first time Zidane has haunted Didier Deschamps’ job. In March 2018, three months before the dispute of the World Cup in Russia, the former midfielder resigned from the technical command of Real Madrid in a press conference that took the world by surprise. The action opened the door to the possibility of Zinédine taking over Les Les Bleus after the World Cup, as Deschamps lived under suspicion due to the defeat at home in the final of the Euro 2016 to Portugal.
However, the world title won by the French in Moscow changed the configuration of Deschamps in charge of the selection, causing him to remain in charge for another World Cup cycle. Zidane, for his part, returned to Real Madrid less than a year after his departure and managed the Meringues for two more seasons. He left the Spanish club again in the middle of last year and has since been free on the market.
Deschamps’ trajectory can be compared to that of Gareth Southgate, coach of the English national team, except for the starry part. If the Frenchman has already proven himself, the Briton has only hit the bar so far. It’s been more than six years in charge of England, with outstanding campaigns, but the cry of ‘he’s a champion’ is still stuck in his throat.
Even so, having gone far in the competitions in which he managed the English Team means that the Football Association of England (FA) has decided for Southgate to remain in charge of the selection at least until the next Euro, which will be played in 2024, in Germany.
The good performance of the English team in this World Cup has also contributed to Southgate’s prestige among English top hats. Even though he never suffered major threats in office, the coach never enjoyed the same popularity with fans. His style has always been considered more conservative, but this World Cup, England’s football has pleased the population, with the team reaching the quarterfinals with the best attack of the tournament, with 12 goals scored – an average of 2.4 per game.
In common, Deschamps and Southgate achieved better results than their predecessors in charge of the selections.
Didier took over France in 2012 after Les Bleus crashed in the Euro quarter-finals that year. At the 2010 World Cup, the disappointment was even greater: a drop in the group stage. With young talents and big stars at his disposal, Deschamps began to build the base of the team that reached its peak in 2018. Before the world title in Russia, Les Bleus, already with Lloris, Varane, Pogba and Griezmann, fell in the Copa do Brasil in the quarterfinals, against champion Germany, and were runners-up in Euro 2016, to Portugal.
Southgate, meanwhile, took charge of England in a hurry in 2016 after then coach Sam Allardyce resigned after 67 days. Allardyce was caught in an investigation by ‘The Telegraph’ newspaper pledging to help a fictitious company circumvent rules on player transfers in the country.
Gareth was coach of the England under-21 team, took over the senior national team on an interim basis until the end of 2016 and was hired after pleasing the four matches he was in charge of the English Team. With him, the English reached a Cup semifinal after 28 years and a Euro decision for the first time in history.
The trajectory of Didier Deschamps and Gareth Southgate as players can be compared with their careers as coaches so far. If the Frenchman had the success of being captain of his country’s first world title, in 1998, the Englishman lives with the stain of having missed one of the most painful penalties in history in the dispute against Germany in the semifinal of Euro 1996.
It will be up to Southgate to change its personal fate, along with its group of athletes in this edition of the World Cup. For that, he will have to go over Didier Deschamps and the entire French team, which not only comes with the status of current champion, but is also one of the favorites to win the tournament again. The duel for the quarterfinals of the World Cup will take place this Saturday (10), at 4 pm (Brasília time), at the Al Bayt stadium, in Al-Khor, Qatar.
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