Didier Deschamps is hoping his team can write their own chapter in the history of French football ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany.
Deschamps was Les Bleus captain when they won the World Cup in 1998 on home soil and Euro 2000 in Netherlands and Belgium two years later. Prior to that, their only success on the international stage was at Euro 1984, when Michel Platini inspired them to glory in another tournament staged in France.
The current players will edge a significant step closer to adding their names to the record books if they can beat the world champions in Marseille and Deschamps is aware of the prize on offer.
“No-one can change history but there are some new chapters to be written and the players can write them,” he said.
“This page is currently blank and they need to fill it tomorrow. What has happened before is not important. What happens now is important.
“I believe the players have belief in themselves. We know the opposition, they are still the best side in the world but we are going to go out with everything.
“We’ve always had this confidence, this desire to get to where we are today. It’s not been a linear process but the players have done everything to get into the semi-final against Germany.”
Germany knocked France out of the last major tournament, beating Les Bleus 1-0 in the quarter-finals at World Cup 2014, and Deschamps accepts Joachim Low’s men present a major obstacle for his side to overcome.
“Germany are used to hogging ball possession, they typically have more than the opposition but we cannot play the match thinking only about defending and then catch them on the break,” he added.
“We have a chance and we want to take it, although we respect Germany. They are the world champions and have given the best impression of any of the teams over the tournament so far.
“You can’t fight against Germany in terms of their experience, their caps, their trophies, the number of semi-finals and the number of finals they’ve played, we can’t compete against that.
“But we are here and will give it everything we’ve got, with our qualities, taking into account the strength of the opposition.
“If we are here, we must also have some quality. Yes we conceded two goals in the second half against Iceland, that was definitely due to the team switching off a little bit. Before that we’d only conceded goals from penalties.
“We do have the ability to score goals and create danger for the opposition. That’s very exciting for me.”