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Deschamps defends misfiring Benzema

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Mar 27, 2013 06:03 hrs
Karim Benzema

Paris: France coach Didier Deschamps defended his team selection after Les Bleus slumped to a 1-0 home defeat by world champions Spain in World Cup qualifying Group I on Tuesday.

Deschamps kept faith with Karim Benzema, who had not scored in 11 games, but the Real Madrid striker passed 1,000 minutes without an international goal in another disappointing performance.

"It's a debate. He did good things even if obviously he did not find the back of the net," Deschamps told a news conference.



"But his team mates managed to find him and he took part in the construction of the game."

Benzema, however, was booed off the pitch when he was replaced in the 82nd minute by midfielder Moussa Sissoko and Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud had to wait until stoppage time before coming on.

"It's a choice. The fact that we were down to 10 men and that Yohan Cabaye had been replaced already was a factor. We needed some balance, that's why I waited," said Deschamps.

While Spain coach Vicente del Bosque fielded his usual formidable midfield of Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Xavi, Deschamps had to play Blaise Matuidi, Cabaye and Paul Pogba, who had only one previous cap and was sent off in the 78th minute.

"Pogba and (the 19-year-old centre back) Raphal Varane are not just a gamble," he said.

Varane was his usual confident self and Pogba looked impressive as a holding midfielder, although he lost his temper late in the game, collecting two yellow cards in four minutes.

"I know what they are capable of. And I'm not going to change my mind after what they showed tonight," said Deschamps.

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