France coach Didier Deschamps signs new 2-year contract until next World Cup in 2018


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PARIS — France coach Didier Deschamps has signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him in charge of the national team until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Deschamps, who replaced Laurent Blanc after the 2012 European Championship, was handed the new deal by French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet on Thursday.

"The partnership between coach and president is fundamental, the players sense it too," Deschamps said Thursday. "I'm very happy in my role as national team coach."

France reached the World Cup quarterfinals last year in Brazil, losing 1-0 to eventual champion Germany.

After a poor qualifying campaign, France reached the 2014 World Cup after beating Ukraine 3-0 in the second leg of a dramatic playoff following a 2-0 loss in the first leg in Kiev.

France will host Euro 2016 and is automatically qualified as host, meaning it plays only friendly matches until then. The team has recently beaten Spain and Portugal at home.

Le Graet, who sometimes had a tense relationship with Blanc toward the end of Blanc's tenure, said it was easy to persuade Deschamps to continue.

"The financial matters didn't take long," he said. "It was indispensable to have this stability. He has our total backing, and the wish was mutual."

Le Graet added that the recently retired Thierry Henry — France's all-time leading scorer with 51 goals — former midfielder Patrick Vieira and Deschamps will be honored before the home game against Brazil on March 26.

They all played more than 100 times for France, with the former midfielder Deschamps captaining the side to victory at the 1998 World Cup and at Euro 2000.

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