Didier Deschamps yet to choose Rami's replacement for Iceland clash

With one of the first choice defender's suspended, Deschamps must re-shuffle his pack.

Didier Deschamps yet to choose Rami's replacement for Iceland clash
Deschamps oversees France training ahead of Sunday's quarter-final (photo; Getty Images)

Didier Deschamps has refused to state that he's made a decision on who to start at centre-back for France in their Euro 2016 quarter-final against Iceland

Rami suspension means a decision must be made

With Adil Rami suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in the 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland last time out, Deschamps needs to make a choice over who to partner with Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the defence. 

This choice is between two highly rated centre-back's in Samuel Umtiti and Eliaquim Mangala, however they are two names that might not have been considered for the 23 man squad if not for certain circumstances.

France suffered something of a crisis at centre-back before the tournament started, losing Mamadou Sakho to suspension, whilst Raphael Varane and Jeremey Mathieu were both ruled out through injury, leading to Umtiti and Mangala being assured of a place in the squad.

Umtiti is yet to make a senior appearance for France, whilst Mangala is low on confidence following a difficult season at Manchester City.

Umtiti, pictured playing for Lyon, is yet to make a senior appearance for France (photo: Getty Images)
Umtiti, pictured playing for Lyon, is yet to make a senior appearance for France (photo: Getty Images)

Deschamps giving nothing away

The general consensus is that Umtiti will slot in for Rami, however when asked about it before the game, Deschamps kept his cards close to his chest, saying "Do you want me to tell you Eliaquim Mangala's attributes as well or are you not bothered?" before blasting, "what a question!".

Eventually drawn into talking about Umtiti's quality, the national boss explained that links to Barcelona are "not down to luck", explaining that Umtiti "passes well from the back" whilst also being "strong in the challenge", adding that he feels the Lyon defender "has what it takes to play at the highest level".

Long throws could be a problem

Whoever comes into the France defence will have the added task of dealing with Iceland's dangerous long throws, from which they equalised against England. 

Asked about the threat that they pose from those, Deschamps admitted that "it's like a free-kick for them" when they get a throw in from a certain range, and that due to this "we've been working on it this week".  

One thing that France haven't been working on is penalties, with the manager saying "I've never done it", upon being asked whether or not he's had his team practising penalties. Quizzed as to why this is the case, Deschamps said "taking penalties in training is no comparison to what you're going to experience in a stadium".

They'll be hoping it doesn't go to penalties on Sunday, with the home nation expecting a straightforward win.