Home Sport No permutations, France aim to earn top spot

No permutations, France aim to earn top spot

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France will not get caught up in calculations as they look to secure top spot in Group F with a win over Portugal, says coach Didier Deschamps.

France coach Didier Deschamps. File Picture: Pool via Reuters, Franck Fife

BUDAPEST – France coach Didier Deschamps said his team will not get caught up in calculations as the world champions look to secure first place in Group F with victory over Portugal on Wednesday.

Les Bleus top the group with four points from two games and are already through to the last 16 regardless of their result against reigning European champions Portugal in Budapest.

Germany and Portugal are level on three points apiece with Hungary not out of contention either following their 1-1 draw against France last weekend.

“We’re guaranteed to qualify and that gives us a bit of peace of mind. From experience I’m not getting caught up in the maths, you have to respect the game,” Deschamps told a press conference on Tuesday.

“We’re going into it with the aim of getting the best result possible because it could also have repercussions for the other teams waiting on our result.”

France, unbeaten in competitive matches since a qualifying loss to Turkey in June 2019, would set up a tie against Switzerland or Ukraine if they advance as group winners.

They will have to pay close attention to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored three times in two games to start the tournament – becoming the top scorer in European Championship history.

“We know that this Portuguese team relies heavily on Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals. He was decisive in the first two games and we need to try to limit his influence,” said Deschamps.

Ronaldo has never scored in six attempts against France, and Portugal are not yet assured of a place in the knockout phase following a 4-2 loss to Germany.

“Playing Portugal is a big challenge for us. They are still playing for their qualification. We are looking to finish as high as we can in the group,” said goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris.

“The objective is to win the match to carry on our good run and build our confidence before the new competition that will start in the round of 16.”

AFP