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Matuidi hails France coach Deschamps

IANS  |  Moscow 

has praised French for moulding a team "in his own image" as the former world and European champions prepare for Sunday's final against

are the bookmakers' favorites to win the clash at after they showed impressive defensive discipline under their 1998 World Cup-winning coach, who was himself renowned as a no-nonsense midfielder, reports

"He has created a team in his own image and I think that's important," Matuidi told a press conference on Friday.

"He's trying to recreate his glorious past as a and so far everything is working. It (France's progress to the final) hasn't happened by accident."

advanced to their third decider in 20 years by taking top spot in Group C before winning their knockout stage matches against Argentina, and Belgium, each without needing extra time.

Croatia, meanwhile, have had a grueling path to the final, with all of their three knockout matches -- against Denmark, and England -- going to extra time. On top of that, Zlatko Dalic's men also have one less day to recover from their semi-final.

But Matuidi said he did not expect to be a contributing factor as strive to win football's most coveted trophy for the first time.

"We will be facing a very good team, with players that have a very high level and a lot of experience so we need to be focused," the 31-year-old Juventus star said.

"It's the game of our lives and there will be pressure. But we have to be positive and not let that inhibit us."

Matuidi had words of support for Les Bleus striker Olivier Giroud, who has yet to score in this tournament.

"Olivier has done a lot for the team. He is a great for us and we are happy with the way he is playing. He has been a little bit frustrated not to score, but it doesn't matter when we win. His work rate has been very important, both offensively and defensively," Matuidi said.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 21:56 IST
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