1998, 2006, 2018: the three heroics that have defined Didier Deschamps

16 July at 20:55
Yesterday, Didier Deschamps became just the third man to win the FIFA World Cup as both a player and a manager. In 1998, he won the World Cup on home soil, captaining the French national team to their first ever World Cup title. In 2018, he led the team as a manger, giving them their second star above their badge.
Juventus fans may remember Deschamps for other reasons. Not only did he play over 170 games for the Old Lady as a player between 1994 and 1999 but he stepped up in the club’s darkest days as a manager too; bringing the team back to Serie A in the wake of the Calciopoli match fixing scandal that resulted in their relegation to Serie B.
Going back 20 years, Didier Deschamps had just won the 1997/1998 Serie A title with Juventus, playing 25 times in the league as the team claimed their second consecutive scudetto. The club finished runners-up in the Champions League that season, being defeated 1-0 by Real Madrid in a disappointing conclusion to the season.
After that loss, Deschamps faced the challenge of leading the French national team as captain in the 1998 World Cup, hosted by the French. The pressure would have been intense, with all eyes on France as they would pursue their first World Cup win.
Deschamps had been named in the team of the tournament in Euro ’96 and was entrusted with the responsibility of guiding France to World Cup glory. Despite all the pressure, Deschamps did exactly that; and France were World Cup Champions for the first time in their history.
Fast forward to 2006, just 12 years ago. Fabio Capello left Juventus in the wake of the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal, which saw several clubs accused of and punished of being involved in having referees chosen selectively to encourage certain results.
Capello left, as did many of Juventus’ star players. The club was in turmoil, yet, one man stepped up to take on the challenge of bringing the club back to Serie A. Didier Deschamps. Deschamps had been the manager of AS Monaco up until 2005, when he resigned after a poor start to the season and a falling out with the Monaco hierarchy.
Deschamps guided Juventus to first place in Serie B, achieving the goal of bringing them back to Italy’s top flight. However, after the season was done, Deschamps resigned, after clashes with the club’s management.
Now, the present. Deschamps was made manager of the French national team back in 2012, after three years as manager of Marseille. After a heart-breaking defeat in the final of Euro 2016 in France, as the hosts were defeated by Portugal in extra-time, Deschamps was determined to finally lift silverware as France’s head-coach. Going into the 2018 World Cup, many deemed France as amongst the favourites to lift the trophy and, as the tournament went on and the other favourites gradually phased out of contention, it looked like it could well be Deschamps’ year.
The final must have felt like his second attempt after Euro ’16. France were again favourites to lift the trophy but this time, there was no heart-ache, no pain, and the French won the World Cup for the second time in their history. Not only this, Deschamps lifted the FIFA World Cup for the second time in his history. Mission accomplished.
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