Present on Saturday at the draw for Euro-2024 in the absence of coach Didier Deschamps, who recently had back surgery, assistant coach Guy Stéphan estimated that Austria, placed in the France group with the Netherlands Low and a barrage, was an “underrated” nation with formidable individualities.
How do you feel about this group? Guy Stéphan: “We will know on June 25 (after the last group match of the Blues, editor's note). More seriously, we have two known adversaries and another unknown. We know the Netherlands well and they know us too, it is a great football nation, 6th in the FIFA rankings. We have already played them and we have beaten them but the fact remains that they are a quality team, who will be revengeful against us. The Austrians are underrated, they have individualities with David Alaba from Real Madrid, Sabitzer from Dortmund, Danso who we know well at home and who is a real warrior at the back. They have good players. We suffered there and we drew in the Nations League (in 2022, editor's note). Now, we obviously have the ambition to pass while respecting the opponents.
Did you have Didier Deschamps on the phone to find out what he thinks of the draw? “I had him on the phone. He is better, he thinks almost the same thing, that we must respect our opponents and show humility but obviously we are ambitious and given what we have done in recent months and years, we wants to go as far as possible. But let's play the first three matches first and often the first one starts the competition so we will have to succeed.”
The priority now is to plan the preparation and find the base camp? “There are a lot of things to see. We will have to validate the base camp. We have an idea of the base camp but until it is validated, we cannot talk about it. The criteria are the same as in Qatar, a comfortable hotel, without being luxurious, a nearby training ground, ten minutes away, a quarter of an hour maximum, with a good lawn.