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Published: 10:09, November 30, 2022 | Updated: 10:09, November 30, 2022
France to make changes but not taking Tunisia lightly
By Reuters
Published:10:09, November 30, 2022 Updated:10:09, November 30, 2022 By Reuters

France's head coach Didier Deschamps, and Kylian Mbappe arrive for a training session at the Jassim Bin Hamad stadium in Doha, Qatar, Nov 29, 2022 on the eve of the group D World Cup soccer match between Tunisia and France. (CHRISTOPHE ENA / AP)

DOHA - France will look to keep their World Cup momentum going when they face Tunisia even though they have qualified for the knockout stages, and coach Didier Deschamps will make changes for the game on Wednesday.

The defending champions advanced to the last 16 after a 4-1 win against Australia and a 2-1 victory over Denmark. Only an improbable combination of results would prevent them from sealing top spot in Group D.

"The team who will play tomorrow will do everything to get the best possible result, even if I have this possibility to shuffle things around," Deschamps told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We probably don't even need a point, even if I remain vigilant."

ALSO READ: England into last 16 as Rashford scores twice in 3-0 Wales rout

Midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is expecting a tough challenge from Tunisia, who must win to stand a chance of progressing in what Deschamps called an away match for France

The coach is expected to change at least half of the side who started against Denmark, with Steve Mandanda likely to deputise for Hugo Lloris in goal and Kingsley Coman taking over from Ousmane Dembele in the forward line.

The big question mark is whether Kylian Mbappe, who is chasing records in Qatar after scoring three goals and four in the 2018 World Cup, will be given a rest he might not want.

"Physically he is very well but you guys are saying I could have him play to preserve his ego," said Deschamps.

ALSO READ: Emotional Koulibaly sends Senegal into World Cup last 16

"Does he want to play? You guys don't know but I know. He doesn't have (that kind of) ego. He's part of a collective project and of course he has this capacity to be in the limelight because he's decisive but he's not 18 anymore.

"Generally speaking, all the players want to play but they cannot all start."

France, however, will not take things lightly at the Education Stadium.

"The momentum comes with results. The fact that we're already through like Brazil and Portugal gives us a bit of leeway but we are not going to be relaxed," said Deschamps.

ALSO READ: Gakpo on target again as Dutch beat Qatar 2-0 to top Group A

Midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is expecting a tough challenge from Tunisia, who must win to stand a chance of progressing in what Deschamps called an away match for France.

"We're expecting a tough game. They're going to give everything and will be backed by a big number of fans who came to Qatar, but that's the kind of games we live for," said Tchouameni.

Australia face Denmark in the other remaining Group D game.


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