Deschamps extends contract as France coach to next World Cup

PARIS (AP) — After leading France to another World Cup final, coach Didier Deschamps is signing up for another shot at the title, prolonging his contract to July 2026.

The French Football Federation announced the contract extension on Saturday.

Deschamps, a World Cup winner as a player, took over as coach of Les Bleus in July 2012 and led France to the World Cup title in 2018, beating Croatia in the final.

Under Deschamps, France then came within a whisker of successfully defending its title at the World Cup in Qatar, losing an epic final to Argentina. Argentina won its third World Cup title by beating France 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw featuring two goals from the 35-year-old Lionel Messi and a hat trick by his heir apparent, France forward Kylian Mbappé.

Deschamps has close working relationship with FFF president Noël Le Graët.

“In Qatar we almost achieved what we wanted to do, winning the World Cup. There were a lot of positives to take," Deschamps said Saturday.

France's players were despondent after losing such a tense final, but were touched by the reception they received when they arrived home.

“Coming back to France, I realized how much emotion and passion a World Cup can generate,” Deschamps said. “We had a lot of support. You can count on me to keep France at the highest level.”

The FFF said Deschamps' right-hand man, assistant coach Guy Stéphan, is also staying on with Les Bleus, as are goalkeeping coach Franck Raviot and physical trainer Cyril Moine.

In 139 matches under Deschamps, France has won 89, drawn 28 and lost just 22, scoring 279 goals and conceding 119.

France reached the final of the European Championship on home soil in 2016, losing 1-0 to Portugal in extra time.

But Euro 2020 was disappointing as Les Bleus went out to Switzerland on penalties in the round of 16. Germany is hosting Euro 2024.

The United States, Mexico and Canada are hosting the 2026 World Cup, which begins in June of that year.

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The Associated Press