France coach Didier Deschamps has predicted Giampiero Ventura’s spell as Italy coach will be a successful one after his side inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the Azzurri in Bari.
Goals from Anthony Martial, Olivier Giroud and Layvin Kurzawa ensured Ventura’s first game at the helm ended in a setback, but Deschamps had words of encouragement for his opposite number, who took over from Antonio Conte after Italy’s run to the quarter-finals of the European Championship.
France, playing their first game since losing to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016, capitalised on a number of defensive errors either side of Graziano Pelle’s consolation goal for Italy, but Deschamps refused to get carried away by the result.
“A friendly is not the same thing as a competition,” he said. “I saw Italy in the second half but the rhythms were low. I expected an Italy like that.
“We have also suffered and, physically, to play so early in the season is complicated. But I have no doubts about the quality of Italy.
“The players are the same. I do not think that they have lost their edge since Euro 2016.
“I also think that Ventura will benefit by integrating young players into the side. But for this you need time as to all. I do not think that Italy lost in the transition, the coach is important but the main actors are the players.”
Deschamps was relieved to see Martial score his first goal for France, and indicated that he was content with the preparations his side had made ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Belarus.
“[Martial] scored the first goal,” he said. “It is an important breakthrough as a young player.”
“I’m satisfied,” he added. “You can always do better but to score three against Italy, who concede rarely, is not bad.”
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