Antoine Griezmann admits playing in front of a full stadium in sweltering conditions affected France in their surprise 1-1 Euro 2020 draw with Hungary on Saturday.

Barcelona forward Griezmann equalised 24 minutes from time in Budapest to cancel out Attila Fiola's first-half opener and salvage Les Blues a point in the Group F match.

Hungary were spurred on by a raucous crowd, with around 61,000 spectators in attendance thanks to an easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Hungarian capital.

France had to settle for a point that leaves them waiting on a place in the last 16 and Griezmann puts his side's disjointed display down to a couple of factors.

"It was a difficult match for us," he told beIN SPORTS. "With the fans here in a full stadium, we lost our normal habits. We struggled to get along and it was also super-hot.

"We got caught out at the back and didn't know how to find each other. We didn't know how to put away our chances in the first half.

"We know that we have players on the bench to make the difference at any time. We have to continue to work hard and improve."

Griezmann's goal was his seventh at the Euros, putting him behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (11) and Michel Platini (nine) in the list of the competition's all-time top scorers.

That strike did at least rescue France a point that moves them to the top of Group F ahead of Germany's clash with Portugal – Les Blues' next opponents – in Munich.

France were never quite at their best in the group stage before going on to win the 2018 World Cup, and Griezmann is confident that his side will improve as Euro 2020 goes on.

"It reminds me a little of the World Cup when we were made to suffer in the group stage," he told TF1. "We will have to quickly recover and go again against Portugal. 

"We always knew it would be complicated in the heat and noise in the stands. I have full confidence in the group."

Fiola's goal was the first France had conceded in 527 minutes, but they battled back to make it nine matches without defeat at major tournaments.

Skipper Hugo Lloris is staying positive after the draw with Hungary, which ends a run of five successive wins in all competitions.

"We gave 100 per cent to get the draw today, even if that is not the result we wanted," he told TF1. "We have to be content with the scoreline.

"The opposition made the most of their chance and were well organised, helped by their supporters. We're disappointed but you have to stay positive."

Asked if the heat played a part as well as the deafening home crowd, Lloris said: "That plays a part, but conceding a goal just before half-time also didn't help us.

"If we had taken the lead it would have changed the dynamics. But we came back into the game and have to be satisfied and recover for the next match."

Olivier Giroud has made history by winning 100 caps for France while playing under coach Didier Deschamps.

No other player for Les Bleus has ever recorded a century of senior international appearances with the same man in charge.

The Chelsea striker, who made his France debut back in November 2011, won his first eight caps under Laurent Blanc, who resigned following the Euro 2012 finals.

Deschamps took over in July 2012 and has since made Giroud a mainstay of his plans. The 34-year-old's 100th game under the former midfielder came in Saturday's Euro 2020 clash with Hungary.

The closest players to Giroud's tally under Deschamps are Antoine Griezmann (93 appearances), Hugo Lloris (90), Paul Pogba (82) and Blaise Matuidi (80).

 

Giroud scored 45 goals in his first 99 games under Deschamps, including nine in 16 European Championship matches, taking qualifiers into account.

He netted just once in 12 World Cup finals games, although he played in every single game of France's triumph at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Giroud's first goal of the Deschamps era came against Spain in a World Cup qualifier in October 2012, while his one hat-trick was scored in a friendly with Paraguay in June 2017.

The former Arsenal forward, who scored once in Blanc's time at the helm, needs only five more goals to match Thierry Henry's all-time France record of 51.

 

Didier Deschamps anticipates Hungary presenting world champions France with a dangerous test as Les Bleus look to seal their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

France were not at their best in an entertaining 1-0 win over Germany, but the fact only the offside flag prevented their victory from being more emphatic in a game where they clearly had several other gears sent an ominous message to the other contenders for the title.

But they have work to do to win Group F, from which they will progress should they beat Hungary, with Portugal having shown their mettle with a late show against the same opposition in Budapest to prevail 3-0.

Yet Deschamps was impressed by what he saw from the minnows of the group prior to Raphael Guerreiro's 84th-minute opener, which preceded a Cristiano Ronaldo brace, and is expecting his side to receive a stern examination in front of a crowd of 65,000.

"Obviously the support of fans for a home side is very important, this helped them [Hungary] against Portugal because let's not forget up to 80th minute it was 0-0," he told a media conference. 

"They actually were the first to hit the back of the net but unfortunately the goal was disallowed.

"They're a highly efficient team, well structured, they have an Italian coach and I think this has a lot to do with it. Hungary will be playing at home, therefore I'm expecting them to be just as dangerous as they were against Portugal."

Marco Rossi is the man tasked with guiding Hungary to what would be one of the biggest upsets in European Championship history, having accepted blame for the margin of defeat against Portugal.

"We came apart at the seams," said Rossi. "That was my fault. I made too many changes that didn't work.

"We were trailing and we needed to do something. I did that and clearly I got it wrong. Occasionally you can hold your hands up and saw you made a mistake."

France will have full-backs Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard available in Budapest. Hernandez had what Deschamps described as "a niggle" while Pavard suffered a head injury in the win over Germany.

Antoine Griezmann is in line to feature in a record 50th consecutive game for France and facing the Barcelona star, Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema, Hungary can ill-afford to have their structure come apart once more.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Hungary - Gergo Lovrencsics

Lovrencsics will look to test Hernandez's fitness if he retains his place on the right flank after providing a threat from that side against Portugal.

He produced two good open play crosses against Portugal and was one of just three Hungary players to create a chance in that defeat.

Should the play become stretched, Lovrencsics may be the player to whom Hungary turn to take advantage.

France - Adrien Rabiot

While it is tough to take your eyes off Mbappe and Co. up front, Rabiot's display against Germany was worthy of greater attention.

The midfielder had the highest passing accuracy of any player on the France team (93 per cent) and was tied with Pavard (89.5%) for the best passing accuracy in the opposition half.

He also did his fair share of work in defence. Rabiot made three interceptions, tied with Paul Pogba for the most among France players, while only the Manchester United star (12) won possession more times than the Juventus man (9).

In what may develop into a high-octane match in front of a vociferous crowd, Rabiot's composure and strengths as a box-to-box midfielder could be pivotal for France.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- France have won each of their last five matches against Hungary (12 goals, 3 against), a run that started with their 3-1 group stage victory at the 1978 World Cup. They had only won three of their previous 17 games against Hungary (D2 L12).

- Les Bleus have beaten Hungary only once in their eight games played on Hungarian soil (D1 L6), that was in March 1990 at Budapest's Nepstadion (3-1, including a brace from Eric Cantona).

- France have won their last five matches in all competitions, doing so without conceding a single goal. They haven't won six games in a row since June 2016, when the final two games in the run were their opening two matches of Euro 2016.

- Going into MD2, Hungary have conceded more goals at the last two European Championships combined than anyone else, letting in 11 goals in five matches, including seven in their last two games alone (0-4 vs Belgium at Euro 2016, 0-3 vs Portugal at Euro 2020).

- Only Finland (1) and Turkey (3) had fewer shots on MD1 of EURO 2020 than France (4), while only opponents Hungary (0.18) and Russia (0.26) have posted a lower Expected Goal (xG) total than the French (0.28).

- During 2021, only Italy (6) have kept more clean sheets among European nations than France (5), who have kept a clean sheet in their last five matches in all competitions. They last kept six in a row between March and September 2007 under Raymond Domenech.

- Benzema – who is 10th on the list of all-time top scorers for the French national team with 27 goals – has never scored a goal at the Euros in seven previous appearances. Since 1980, his 28 efforts at goal without scoring in the competition are the third-most of any player, behind Spain's Andres Iniesta (34) and the Netherlands' Clarence Seedorf (33).

Didier Deschamps has hailed Antoine Griezmann as "one of the greatest players of all time" ahead of France's Euro 2020 encounter with Hungary on Saturday.

Griezmann is fourth on the list of Les Bleus' all-time leading goalscorers with 37 from 92 appearances.

The Barcelona forward was the leading scorer with six goals in the last European Championship and only Harry Kane bettered his tally of four when France won the World Cup in Russia three years ago.

Griezmann will have played in a record-extending 50 consecutive France games when he features in Budapest, where France can secure their place in the last 16 after beating Germany 1-0 in their opening match.

France boss Deschamps lavished praise on the former Atletico Madrid man for the all-round contribution he makes for the tournament favourites.

"Above and beyond the fact he's playing consecutive games, which is wonderful for him, he may not be 20 but he takes very good care of himself, he's a professional and managed to avoid different injuries he could have had," Deschamps said in a media conference on Friday.

"The statistics speak for themselves, you can see the influence he has for the French national team through the goals he has scored and through his assists.

"Add to that the capacity to change games and get stuck in and defend when we don't have the ball. He's one of the greatest players of all time in Europe and worldwide."

Deschamps added: "He is one of our technical leaders. He is a game changer with the way he moves, the control he has with the ball and the goals he is capable of scoring, and his assists. He is an offensive player, a very creative player and has this ability to think outside the box. 

"That's something he has proven to us time and again, it's remarkable to watch even though he's happy to get back and defend. Maybe he does that a little bit too much.

"I'm not going to take this away from him. It is completely natural for him and important to our balance. This doesn't prevent him from being a huge player and from having a huge presence on the pitch with regards to his efficiency up front."

Deschamps confirmed that full-back Benjamin Pavard will be fit to play despite suffering a blow to the head in the victory over Germany.

Paul Pogba insisted France must deal with being labelled as favourites to win Euro 2020 after he led the way with a supreme performance against Germany.

Mats Hummels' own goal gifted Euro 2016 runners-up France a 1-0 win over Germany in their opening Group F encounter in Munich on Tuesday, putting Les Bleus well on their way to progressing to the last 16.

France – who finished with just one attempt on target – had opportunities to add to their lead, with Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema having goals disallowed for offside, though Joachim Low's Germany ultimately failed to make their luck count as they lost their opening game of a European Championship for the first time.

The winner came in fortuitous circumstances, with Hummels turning in from Lucas Hernandez's cross.

Pogba's exceptional pass played in France's left-back, however, and the Manchester United midfielder was on top form, attempting more passes (52) and more in Germany's half (31) than any Les Bleus player.

He also amassed a team-high 78 touches – albeit that total was 50 less than game-leader Toni Kroos (128) – and went in for 20 duels, the most of any player.

With the world champions having been tipped to lift the trophy they missed out on against Portugal on home soil five years ago, Pogba is adamant France must live up to the billing.

"The performance of the team is the most important. Without them, I would not have been so efficient," Pogba, who was also involved in a flashpoint with Antonio Rudiger when he appeared to complain that the Germany defender had bitten him, told M6.

"They helped me, they have everyone made the effort. This victory is for everyone, those who are also on the bench and in the stands to support us.

"Everyone was talking about our status as favourite, our attack, the group of death. We must assume our status with humility."

Didier Deschamps is aiming to become the first person to win the European Championship and World Cup as both a player and coach, and was delighted with a resilient display.

"We had a big match against a very good opponent," Deschamps told M6.

"I knew that my players were going to be ready, we were fighting for everything, even if in the first half we could have got the ball out a little better. We did not suffer that much in the second period. It's a tough game.

"This is our first game. In our group, taking these three points is important. We were at the level, this victory is good for us."

Deschamps' counterpart Low said he could not have asked for any more effort from his Germany side, who mustered 10 attempts to France's four, albeit only one of them hit the target.

"We really gave everything. We fought until the end, for 90 minutes," Low told beIN Sports.

"What we missed was a goal. We conceded a goal that we could have avoided, but otherwise I have no criticism to make. We lost a match, but we continue."

Germany next host defending champions Portugal, while France travel to Budapest to face Hungary.

Didier Deschamps has confirmed he held talks with Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud following their recent dispute.

Giroud caused a stir after scoring a double in Les Blues' 3-0 friendly win over Bulgaria last Tuesday when appearing to suggest some irritation at a lack of service.

He did not mention any player by name, but the comments were perceived to be aimed at strike partner Mbappe, who failed to pick out the Chelsea forward on several occasions.

There were only three passes between the pair during their 43 minutes together on the field.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe had the opportunity to respond at a news conference on Sunday and admitted to being "a little affected" by Giroud's remarks.

However, Deschamps has insisted the incident was soon put to bed and France are now fully focused on their Euro 2020 opener against Germany at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

"I spoke to them, in the same way I have spoken to other players," he told L'Equipe. 

"When I feel I have to do it for certain reasons, I do it. Dialogue is a part of management, but listening is also good. 

"These players at a very high level are easier to manage than those at a lower level. Yes, they have pride, but also ego – though I'm not sure if it's ego.

"They are competitors and a balance has to be found. We need room in the team for everyone."

Asked about the affect the exchange of words has had on the France camp, Deschamps said: "Everyone got back in the saddle on Thursday.

"We are all working in the same direction with the same objective. It is also a question of generations, with different interests. Don't forget we spend 24 hours together.

"On the pitch, they all wear the same jersey and I know they will all make the same effort as the others."

Mbappe was reportedly blocked from speaking at a news conference last week, with Paul Pogba instead put up to speak to the press, but Deschamps denied that was the case.

"To be clear, I was not opposed to that," he said. "Pogba offered to go and I validated. It's a reality, it happens.

"Honestly, internally, I cannot talk about tensions because that is not the case."

Didier Deschamps has confirmed Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema are fit to play a part in France's Euro 2020 opener against Germany.

Griezmann sustained a calf injury in France's 3-0 win over Bulgaria on Tuesday in their final warm-up match and Benzema left the pitch before half-time with a dead leg.

However, both players took part in full training on Saturday and Deschamps expects to have a fully-fit squad to choose from at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

Asked if Griezmann and Benzema will be available against Germany, Deschamps told TF1: "Yes, it looks like it. Everyone took part in yesterday's training session.

"We have two sessions left before the game and there shouldn't be any problems."

Griezmann's return to fitness is a big boost for France, with the Barcelona forward having scored more goals against Germany (four) with France than against any other team.

He has also been directly involved in more goals (14) than any other European player over the past two major tournaments – 10 goals and four assists in 14 games at Euro 2016 and the World Cup in 2018.

Benzema was not involved in either tournament for Les Blues after being exiled from the national team for nearly six years prior to his surprise recall last month.

The Real Madrid striker made his first appearance for the world champions in five years and 237 days in the recent 3-0 friendly win against Wales, a game in which he missed a penalty.

That was Benzema's third penalty miss in a row for his national side, having also failed to convert against Switzerland and Sweden in 2014, and he only lasted 41 minutes before limping off against Bulgaria.

But Benzema is now expected to start against Germany in Tuesday's huge Group F clash in Bavaria.

"If I resumed training with the squad yesterday it means I've got nothing amiss, no pain," he told TF1.

"Physically I feel good as I was training indoors, so I'm 100 per cent."

France and Germany have met on five previous occasions at major tournaments, winning two matches apiece and drawing the other.

France head coach Didier Deschamps confirmed Karim Benzema suffered a "knock" that will require further assessment after the world champions finalised their Euro 2020 preparations.

Benzema was withdrawn during the first half of France's 3-0 victory over Bulgaria, having fallen awkwardly after challenging for a header in the pre-Euros warm-up fixture on Tuesday.

With France's opening game at the rescheduled European Championship just a week away – against Germany on June 15 – the sight of Benzema limping from the field represents a major worry for France.

But Deschamps gave little away in his assessment of the blow, telling TF1: "It's a knock on the knee, which also affects the muscle. He felt he was getting stiff so he asked to be subbed.

"The medical staff are taking care of him."

The good news for France is that they have a ready-made replacement for Benzema in Olivier Giroud, who led the line during their victorious 2018 World Cup campaign.

Giroud netted the 45th and 46th goals of his international career late in the second half to move within five of all-time top scorer Thierry Henry's 51 – all despite Deschamps not expecting to use him much against Bulgaria.

"Taking into account the situation in which he arrived, psychologically and especially physically, I had planned to bring him in for less time," Deschamps added.

"He's still a scorer, with a foolproof mind. I'm not going to complain, and the squad will need it too. We will need all our strength. He is part of it too, [that's] good for him and the France team. 

"I think he has played more tonight than the last three months combined."

 

Didier Deschamps suggested he is keen to continue as France coach beyond the expiration of his current deal, which runs out next year.

Deschamps has led France to a European Championship final and World Cup glory during his nine-year tenure as Les Bleus boss.

Indeed, he is only the third person – along with Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer – to have won the World Cup as both a player and a coach, while he would also make history if he guides France to success at Euro 2020 this year.

France going a step further than they managed on home soil in 2016 would make Deschamps the first person to win both the Euros and the World Cup as a player and coach.

However, this may well be his last shot at it with France, as his current deal runs until the end of 2022, after the Qatar World Cup has culminated.

Deschamps, though, has no plans to leave the position, as long as he has the backing of the French Football Federation (FFF).

"I may continue after 2022 with the agreement of my president," Deschamps told RTL.

"People have to want to keep me and for that you need results. I will do something else at some point, but I am thriving in this role of manager. 

"I have a contract until December 2022, but today I am not thinking of becoming a club coach. I am very happy, all the conditions are met."

Deschamps has taken charge of 112 matches during his France reign, which began in 2012 following Laurent Blanc's resignation.

He has managed 74 wins, with France losing 18 times and drawing a further 20 games.

France have one final pre-tournament friendly – against Bulgaria – on Tuesday, before they kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany on June 15. Portugal, who beat Les Bleus in the Euro 2016 final, and Hungary are also in their group.

Paul Pogba has warned France they need to remain humble to avoid Euro 2020 disappointment, adamant they will just be seen as a "PlayStation team" if they are not successful.

Les Bleus head into the Euros well fancied for more glory, having won the 2018 World Cup and seeing their already-remarkable pool of talent improve even further.

France are one of two European nations – with Belgium – to have reached at least the quarter-finals of the past three major tournaments, while their squad accumulated the second-most minutes (522,421) across the top five European Leagues this season among those to qualify for the Euros – they certainly are not short of experience.

As many as 14 of their 26-man squad were in Russia three years ago, while they are now able to add Karim Benzema into the mix again – the Real Madrid star recalled after nearly six years in the international wilderness.

Benzema goes into the tournament on the back of his best goalscoring season (30 in all competitions) since netting 32 in 2011-12 and bolsters a position that was arguably seen as the weakest in the France squad, with Olivier Giroud often chosen to lead the line in Russia.

 

Add Benzema to Kylian Mbappe and a semi-resurgent Antoine Griezmann, who had a hand in 25 goals (15 scored and 10 assists) across all competitions since the turn of the year for Barcelona, and Didier Deschamps has a potentially frightening front three.

Griezmann boasts a brilliant record in international tournaments after being involved in more goals (14) over the past two such events than any other European player.

 

But France are not just a force to be reckoned with in attack, their record of 1.6 shots on target conceded per 90 minutes in the Euro 2020 qualifiers was not bettered by any other team, though their pedigree and reputation will count for nothing if they fail to rise to the occasion at the Euros, according to Pogba.

"We have a PlayStation team but it will remain a PlayStation team if we don't win a trophy," the Manchester United midfielder told Eurosport.

"We have to live up to expectations and there'll be even more expected with Karim's return. It's nice to see a teamsheet like that... It's always an honour but you always have to be present on the pitch.

"Being world champions and having a team like that, we will be expected to do even more.

"We must remain humble. I want to give this message: It's not a foregone conclusion. We hear a lot of talk but we keep out feet on the ground."

Les Bleus will be attempting to become the fourth team to win back-to-back World Cup and Euros – in no particular order – after West Germany (Euro 1972, World Cup 1974), France (World Cup 1998, Euro 2000) and Spain (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012).

If Deschamps lifts the trophy at Euro 2020, he will become the first person ever to win the World Cup and Euros both as player and manager.

There is lots on the line for France, and they certainly have a squad capable of making amends for their Euro 2016 final disappointment.

But, as Pogba has pointed out, arrogance will do them little good in a group that also contains Germany and defending champions Portugal.

Karim Benzema expressed pride to have ended his near six-year exile from the France national side in Wednesday's friendly with 10-man Wales, but admitted there is room for improvement after missing a penalty in the 3-0 win.

The 33-year-old failed to convert a first-half spot-kick at the Allianz Riviera and hit the post in the build-up to Ousmane Dembele's late strike after Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann had put France on course for a routine win.

That was Benzema's third penalty miss in a row for his national side, having also failed to convert against Switzerland and Sweden in 2014.

However, on what was Benzema's first appearance for the world champions in five years and 237 days, the Real Madrid striker is pleased with how things went overall.

"There is a lot of pride and joy after that," he told TF1. "I had a good feeling going into the match after a good week of work and training. It's all about gaining momentum.

"It's been a difficult season with lots of matches. I feel good and that bodes well for the future.

"A match can often be like this with missed chances. The main thing is to create them and learn to do better next time."

Benzema may have endured a largely frustrating game in Nice, but he showed promising link-up play with goalscorers Mbappe and Griezmann in a star-studded front three.

"We tried hard," he said. "It's not easy against teams that use five defenders and play with a low block. That is something we will have to work on in training.

"But overall it was a good match. We worked hard and that is the most important thing today."

Mbappe's breakthrough goal for France arrived seven minutes after Benzema's penalty miss, awarded for Neco Williams' handball in front of goal that also resulted in a red card for the Wales defender.

France looked comfortable from that point on, with Griezmann curling home a second goal early in the second period and substitute Dembele tapping in a third.

The front three of Griezmann, Benzema and Mbappe will be arguably the most feared at the upcoming Euro 2020 finals, and head coach Didier Deschamps is happy to give the trio "complete freedom" up top.

"Karim was unhappy not to score but he was always there," Deschamps told TF1. "A goal would have made both him happy, and me too, but there's no harm in keeping them for later.

"There is no fixed position for the three attackers. I give them complete freedom. Their profiles are complementary. 

"Obviously when the ball is lost they know what needs to be done – they cannot disconnect from the others.

France's victory was their 19th in 24 matches and they now take on Bulgaria in their final friendly fixture ahead of facing Germany, Hungary and Portugal in a daunting Euro 2020 group.

"There's lots of good things to take out of this game," Deschamps said after seeing his side keep a third clean sheet in a row for the first time since October 2017.

"Obviously Wales had one less player and that made our jobs easier. We had lots of chances and it's good to conclude our first week together with this win. On another day the win could have been bigger, but it's a good start."

France captain Hugo Lloris says the return of Karim Benzema does not guarantee the world champions anything ahead of the 2020 European Championship.

Les Bleus take on Wales in a friendly on Wednesday ahead of Euro 2020, where France have a tough group alongside Germany, Hungary and Portugal.

Real Madrid forward Benzema, 33, has been recalled to the France squad for the first time in almost six years.

The forward had been frozen out by France head coach Didier Deschamps since 2015 having been embroiled in a blackmail scandal over a sex tape.

Benzema has forged an outstanding club career in the meantime, netting 23, 21 and 21 league goals over the past three seasons in Spain and looms as a major addition for the 2018 World Cup winners.

"Karim's return does not change anything," Lloris said at the pre-game news conference prior to the Wales friendly in Nice. "His reinstatement went well, it happened naturally.

"There is a lot of respect, even more from the younger players. There is admiration for what he has done in his career at Real Madrid. We ignore what is said from the outside.

"We have the talent but matches are won on the pitch and not on paper. It will be necessary for us to be strong as a team."

France loom as one of the favourites for Euro 2020, along with England, Belgium, Germany, Spain and reigning champions Portugal.

Lloris added: "Karim never gave up, he gave himself the chance to come back, and his presence adds talent to this generation, but there are no guarantees of success.

"It is up to us to create the conditions for a positive dynamic, to create an energy to enter this competition well and to stay there as long as possible, while remaining solid when it is more complicated."

Deschamps is expected to unleash Benzema alongside Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann against the Dragons in a star-studded front line.

"Our performance will also depend on what everyone brings," Deschamps said.

"The midfielders, the full backs. I don't want to dissociate the three forwards from the rest of the team."

Didier Deschamps has said Aymeric Laporte was incorrect to say the France coach ignored a message from the defender prior to him switching his international allegiance to Spain.

Manchester City centre-back Laporte declared for La Roja last month after being granted Spanish citizenship, leading to him being included in their 24-man Euro 2020 squad.

Laporte represented France at youth level, including the Under-21s, but was never handed a senior cap despite being called up by Deschamps.

It has previously been suggested that Laporte reached out to Deschamps to ask why he was continually overlooked, but the France head coach has strongly refuted that claim.

"He has the freedom to do what he likes," Deschamps said in an interview distributed to regional media in France.

"Ten seconds with the senior side would have been enough. But I don't select a player with the purpose of blocking him from having another choice. I was not going to do that.

"He was always included on the shortlists, but there is competition as well. What annoys me is what has been said, which is a lie.

"The only message I have received from him was in October, and that was regarding a specific situation after sustaining an injury.

"We considered him in November and March, and this time around. Leaving him out is not a mistake, it is just my decision. I wish him the best and he's free to make that choice."

Laporte spent nearly a decade in the Basque region while with Athletic Bilbao, initially as part of the youth squad before then graduating into the first team.

The centre-back's most recent call-up to the France squad was in August 2019 during qualifying for Euro 2020, which was pushed back by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He scored City's winner in April's EFL Cup final against Tottenham and collected a third Premier League title in four seasons, but 2020-21 was still a mixed campaign for Laporte.

John Stones and Ruben Dias were Pep Guardiola's preferred pairing at the back, though Laporte still made 27 appearances in all competitions during a gruelling campaign.

That total includes 16 outings in the Premier League, with the 27-year-old averaging 0.87 tackles per 90 minutes, as well as 0.47 blocks.

To put that into context, Raphael Varane – who looks certain to be a regular for France at Euro 2020 – averaged 0.73 tackles for Real Madrid in LaLiga this term, though did manage 0.6 blocks and won 2.42 aerial balls.

Presnel Kimpembe, meanwhile, impressed for Paris Saint-Germain with 1.09 tackles per 90 minutes, 0.43 blocks and 1.44 aerials won across his 28 Ligue 1 appearances.

Deschamps also has Jules Kounde, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Digne, Lucas Hernandez, Clement Lenglet, Kurt Zouma and Leo Dubois to call upon in terms of defensive options.

France face Wales and Bulgaria in friendlies over the next week before beginning their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany in Munich on June 16.

Didier Deschamps said Karim Benzema is free to open up about the talks that led to his surprise France recall in the future, but the head coach said details of such discussions will not come from him.

Benzema was last week named in France's squad for the delayed European Championship following an absence of nearly six years.

He had been frozen out by Deschamps since 2015 having been embroiled in a blackmail scandal involving international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

The 33-year-old has denied the claims and is due to stand trial on the charge of complicity in attempted blackmail in October.

His recall followed another hugely impressive season for Madrid in which he scored 30 goals in all competitions, with 23 of those in LaLiga, trailing only Barcelona's Lionel Messi (30).

Reporters quizzing Deschamps on Wednesday were keen to know what he and Benzema discussed prior to the decision to end the former Lyon star's international exile.

But Deschamps would not oblige such requests.

"Karim said how he felt, I said how I felt too," he told a media conference. "I understand you want details, but they won't come from me, not from Karim either, for the moment. 

"If he wants to, he can. My decision comes from the fact that everything went well. 

"I have a group to manage, he was in this group, he is there again, here is the situation."

Deschamps addressed the issue of vaccination, with every adult in France now able to book a slot to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and the bubble the squad will remain in to reduce the risk of catching the virus.

He said: "I am not a doctor. Today, there is no obligation or recommendation from UEFA. Vaccination remains a personal decision. Some players may have been vaccinated on their own.  

"We made sure to vaccinate all the staff, who are a little older than the players. We are not 100 per cent protected, but we are in a very strict health bubble.

"We will make sure to be as vigilant as possible. From the moment a player is positive, it's over, he's leaving the competition. We all did a test today, everyone is used to it." 

Karim Benzema has set his sights on winning Euro 2020 with France after being left "a little shocked" by his recall to the national side.

Real Madrid striker Benzema was last week named in France's squad for their upcoming European Championship campaign following an absence of nearly six years.

He had been frozen out by Didier Deschamps since 2015 after becoming embroiled in a blackmail scandal involving international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

The 33-year-old has denied the claims and is due to stand trial on the charge of complicity in attempted blackmail in October.

Benzema's recall comes on the back of a campaign in which he scored 30 goals for Madrid in all competitions, 23 of those in LaLiga – behind only Barcelona's Lionel Messi (30).

However, the prolific attacker's return to Les Bleus' setup came as a surprise, even after holding face-to-face talks with Deschamps prior to the squad being announced.

"It was a special day," he told L'Equipe. "I received a lot of messages, there were rumours. I was waiting like everyone else, in front of the TV. I was really happy.

"It happened really fast, it was a feeling of joy and pride. I remembered all the moments when I never gave up. It was a little shock, it's been a long time!"

Benzema accused Deschamps of "bowing to the pressure of a racist part of France" after he lost his place in the side, but the pair quickly buried the hatchet.

"Deschamps didn't tell me. We talked a lot, it was a long conversation, but he never said to me: 'You'll be at the Euros'," Benzema said.

"The only thing he said was that we'd taken a big step together and that we'd see.

"We were face-to-face. We hadn't seen each other since 2015. It was good to talk, I've always gotten on well with him, after three minutes everything was back to normal."

Benzema won the most recent of his 81 caps for France against Armenia in October 2015, scoring twice in that 4-0 friendly victory to take his Les Bleus goal tally to 27.

He was absent for France's World Cup triumph in 2018 and is now eager to make up for lost time by firing his country to success at the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, which begins next month.

"I want to win a trophy with the France team," he said. "Anyone can say: 'It's a dream to win the Euros'.

"But the question is how to win it? And I answer that with the squad that we have, we can win it."

France begin their Group F campaign with a meeting against Germany in Munich on June 15, before facing Hungary and reigning champions Portugal.

Deschamps can also call upon the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud in attack, the latter of whom Benzema previously fell out with.

Benzema suggested last year that Giroud's talent pales in comparison to his own, but the Madrid striker insists he has no problems with his international colleague.

"Olivier, I saw him during the Chelsea match. We spoke, it was relaxed. He congratulated me for my goal," he said.

"It was good vibes, it was cool. I have already played with him, it will be the same as before."

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