In this file photo taken on December 4, 2022 France’s coach Didier Deschamps celebrates after his team won the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between France and Poland at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha. — AFP

Didier Deschamps said on Saturday he will remain France coach until the 2026 World Cup after leading the team to the final of the last two editions.

Deschamps’ contract expired after the World Cup in Qatar where defending champions France lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout after a thrilling final on December 18.

It had been reported that French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet only wanted to give Deschamps a two-year extension until the 2024 European Championship but the 54-year-old coach had insisted on staying in charge until the next World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“I am going to announce something which for me is an immense pleasure, and that is that the president has decided to extend [my contract] until 2026,” Deschamps said at the FFF general assembly. “I thank the president for his constant support and his continued confidence in me,” Deschamps added. “It is essential for the France team to function well.”

The FFF confirmed the extension in a statement. “The French Football Federation and Noel Le Graet, its president, are pleased to announce the extension of Didier Deschamps’ contract as head of the French national team until June 2026,” the statement read.

The FFF said Deschamps’ assistant coach Guy Stephan, goalkeeping coach Franck Raviot and physical trainer Cyril Moine will also continue their work with the national team.

France are currently third in the FIFA world rankings, behind toppers Brazil and second-placed Argentina.

Former Marseille and Juventus midfielder Deschamps captained Fra­nce on home soil when they won their first World Cup in 1998 and he became coach of the national team in 2012.

He guided France to the Euro 2016 final where they lost to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and two years later led Les Bleus to glory at the World Cup in Russia, where they beat Croatia 4-2 in the final. Under Deschamps, France also won the 2021 Nations League.

In Qatar, France overcame the loss through the injury of world player of the year Karim Benzema just before the tournament to reach the final.

In the final, they fought back from 2-0 down to Argentina to bring the scores to 3-3 at the end of extra time, thanks to a hat-trick from Kylian Mbappe. They lost the penalty shootout 4-2.

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