France 'full steam ahead' despite Benzema injury blow – Deschamps

AFP

Didier Deschamps has asked for "more understanding" as France adjust to their latest injuries, but Les Bleus intend to go "full steam ahead" with the same objectives as before.

France were already without Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante for the World Cup and have now lost Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema on the eve of the tournament.

Deschamps' defending world champions head into their opener against Australia with uncertainty around much of their line-up, although the coach has "no worries at all" about Eduardo Camavinga's fitness and confirmed Raphael Varane is fit to start.

Asked on Monday if France would have to reconsider their approach to the finals, Deschamps disagreed, although he asked the assembled media for their support.

"It is full steam ahead with the team we have available to us," he said.

"Less ambition and less desire to do everything to get to the end? I don't think so. But if we could have more understanding from the media, if you could cut us a little more slack, that would be great.

"But we know what is asked of us. We are not counting our chickens before they are hatched, we know our three opponents ahead of us.

"We know Australia very well, but you haven't asked me anything about Australia. That's perfect."

Despite their difficulties, Deschamps says France have "no apprehension" and "no anxiety", even with the past three World Cup holders exiting in the first round.

"This is based on statistics, probability, facts, but I think each team has undergone their own journey to get where they are today," he said.

"It is up to us to have a squad that is aware of the objective of the first game. We're not going to think about what could have been.

"What is important is to focus on the first game against Australia. Everything before is on the sideline now.

"There is analysis that can be made, do with them what you will, but we will be ready for tomorrow."

In the absence of Benzema, Kylian Mbappe is set to have an even more prominent role, having starred in France's Russia 2018 success.

"[Mbappe] played an important role four years ago on the pitch," Deschamps said. "He was very mature at the time and is even more mature now because of what's gone on over the course of the past four years. There's been more global recognition, more responsibility.

"Obviously he has what it takes to stand out from the crowd, to score; his aura is second to none. This was the case four years ago, it still is the case now."

According to captain Hugo Lloris, Mbappe is "involved, relaxed, concentrated, focused".

Lloris was also asked about the OneLove captain's armband – a campaign that promotes "inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind".

The France skipper had already confirmed he would not be wearing the armband, and it emerged shortly after his news conference other countries were backing out of the campaign following the threat of FIFA sanctions.

"FIFA is organising this competition," Lloris said. "It is therefore up to FIFA to put into place a regulatory framework.

"As players, we're here to play football and represent our teams to the best we can on a sporting front. I would prefer to stay in my box. I am a player and a competitor of this competition.

"Yes, there are many causes that are important and should be supported. They're commendable. But it's up to FIFA to take decisions with the organisation of the competition."