France‘s star-studded squad looked in high spirits as they continued World Cup preparations with another training session at their main base in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines.
Les Bleus, who have seen off both the Republic of Ireland and Italy over the last 10 days, contest one final warm-up friendly against the United States – absent from the tournament for the first time since 1986 – at the Stade des Lumieres on Saturday evening.
France will be desperate to produce another positive performance in Lyon and head to Russia in a rich vein of form as they seek to live up to their billing as among the main tournament favourites, win a first piece of major silverware for 18 years and banish painful memories of that Euro 2016 final extra-time defeat to Portugal on home soil.
Presnel Kimpembe, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann arrive for a France training session
Head coach Didier Deschamps and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe are all smiles during the session
Saturday – United States – Stade des Lumieres – 8pm
June 16 – Australia – Kazan Arena – 11am
June 21 – Peru – Ekaterinburg Arena – 4pm
June 26 – Denmark – Luzhniki Stadium – 3pm
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba was in conversation with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann and young Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe as he arrived for training on Wednesday, while head coach Didier Deschamps and Kylian Mbappe were all smiles during the session.
Things were more heated for Pogba earlier this week, when, in an interview with France Football, he hit back at his critics after being jeered off the pitch by some supporters against Italy and defended his relaxed style of play.
‘I’ve always been like that,’ he said. ‘When I’ve won, I’ve won being like that. That’s my style of play.
‘You’re not going to criticise a Messi when he walks on the pitch. He puts three goals in and you will say “ah but he is walking on the pitch?” No.
Deschamps enjoys a laugh as he puts Les Bleus squad through their paces before USA game
Mbappe and Griezmann share a joke as France prepare for final World Cup warm-up clash
Griezmann’s club future continues to be subject to speculation ahead of the tournament
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud passes on the volley as France engage in football drills
‘You cannot tell me how to play. Nobody can tell me how to play. If I’m here today, it’s like I am. Nobody told me how to be. It’s my football, that’s all. Whether people like it or not.
‘Do I need this to be loved? Do I need people to judge me differently? Or do they talk better about me?’
He added: ‘I do not live for people, for what they think, for them to say that I’m nice, good, the best, perfect. Everyone has their opinion. And I respect that. I play football, I do what I like. My relatives support me. They are more important.’
France, greeted by President Emmanuel Macron at Clairefontaine on Tuesday, will be based at the Hilton Garden Inn Moscow New Riga upon their arrival in Russia.
They were drawn in Group C for the World Cup and open their campaign against play-off winners Australia in Kazan on June 16.
Peru provide the opposition in Yekaterinburg five days later, while Denmark lie in wait at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on June 26.
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.