France manager Didier Deschamps says England counterpart Gareth Southgate does not get the credit he deserves in his own country, as the two get set to meet in the World Cup quarter-finals in Qatar.
Deschamps, one of only three men to win the global title as a player and a manager, is seeking to become the first coach in 60 years to retain the World Cup. France lifted the trophy for a second time four years ago, when they defeated Croatia in the final in Moscow.
Southgate, meanwhile, led England in 2018 to their first World Cup semi-final for 28 years – they lost in extra-time to Croatia – while he took his team to last year’s Euro 2020 final. England’s first major final since 1966, they were beaten on penalties by Italy at Wembley Stadium.
Southgate, manager since 2016, came into Qatar on the back of some criticism in England. His side were without a win in six matches leading into the tournament but are unbeaten in Qatar.
On Sunday, they defeated Senegal 3-0 in the last 16 to set up Saturday’s mouth-watering match-up against France at Al Bayt Stadium.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Deschamps said: “I very much like Gareth. We have met on a number of occasions and have talked about a number of things.
“Not everyone appreciates him so much in his own country; that isn’t because he wasn’t a good footballer himself – he had a long and distinguished career, and he is also a very good coach.
“He has enabled England to get some very good results over the years and I very much like him.”
England’s success on Saturday will likely depend on how well their handle Kylian Mbappe, the France forward who leads the goalscoring charts in Qatar, with five goals.
Mbappe has been in scintillating form all round, scoring twice and assisting the other in his team’s 3-1 last-16 victory against Poland.
“I’m sure England will have prepared to face Kylian, as our previous opponents did,” Deschamps said. “But he is in a position to make the difference.
“Even in the last match when he didn’t have his best match, he didn’t show his top form compared to previous games, he was still decisive.
“We have other players that can be dangerous as well and that helps us not to be over-dependent on Kylian. But Kylian is Kylian, and he always will be. He has that capacity to make the difference at any moment in the match.”
Meanwhile, France captain Hugo Lloris, who is set to surpass Lilian Thuram to become France's record appearance-maker with 143 caps, said his team can handle to strain of a World Cup quarter-final.
"The players know how to deal with pressure," Lloris said. “But there are some players who weren't involved in the last few tournaments. We can help them and talk them through things, but we are all ready.
"It is the quarter-final of the World Cup, so we know what it means. There is not much to say, it is a big game."