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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Deschamps believes his record counts for nothing in the here and now

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba

FRANCE coach Didier Deschamps insists his unbeaten World Cup record counts for nothing as Les Bleus prepare to face Germany in Friday's quarter-final at the Maracana.

Deschamps has never lost a World Cup game either as a player or a coach - he captained France to their 1998 triumph. Speaking after the 2-0 win over Nigeria, Deschamps said: "What I am interested in is the here and now.

"We are among the last eight teams of the World Cup in Brazil.

"We have four days to rest and prepare for the game."

French goal-scorer Paul Pogba (pictured) hailed his effort as one of the best moments of his life as Les Bleus swept into the last eight after seeing off the Super Eagles in Brasilia. Pogba's header came in the 79th minute and Joseph Yobo's own goal put the gloss on it for Didier Deschamps side.

Pogba said: "I have no words to describe this feeling. The whole country is behind us and scoring that goal really liberated us. I am so happy for the team and all France.

"To score a goal for your country, especially in such an important game this to get into the last eight of the World Cup is one of the best moments of my life."

Deschamps said he was "very proud" of his side but admitted that France had suffered from the tension.

He said: "We're in the quarter finals now and we will do everything we can to go one step further.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi, who announced he was stepping down from the post, criticised USA referee Mark Geiger.

Keshi said: "I thought the referee made a lot of mistakes and was very lenient to the French players. There was a very bad tackle on Ogenyi Onazi and he is probably out for weeks. It was a scandal and we didn't deserve to lose.

"It's time for me to go back to my family and face fresh challenges."

Former Everton centre-half Yobo is also on his way out. The Fenerbahce defender became the first Nigerian to win 100 caps during the game against Les Bleus and confirmed soon afterwards he would not be adding to the landmark.

"This is it. I can look back on my career with great pride," he said. "I wanted to leave on a high for my country. Defeat by France was not the right way to go but I'm happy with all I've done for the national team.

"It's time to give a chance to other people to come through. Our football has a bright future and I am confident this team can achieve success sooner rather than later."

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