Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
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Didier Deschamps will continue as France head coach for the next UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup cycle after the French Football Federation confirmed his contract extension until 2026 on Saturday. The 54-year-old guided Les Bleus to the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar last month as defending champions which bucked the general trend of former winners failing to make deep runs.

Deschamps made light of numerous absences to guide the French to their third final in his tenure as boss after their 2018 World Cup success in Russia and the Euro 2016 final on home soil. Three out of five possible final appearances plus a 2014 World Cup quarterfinal outing in Brazil is pretty impressive for the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000-winning former captain.

Deschamps has been trusted with the next four years to try to win Euro 2024 in Germany and the 2026 World Cup which will be shared between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Based on their 2022 run with a number of important players missing, France will be considered strong favorites to qualify and compete for both titles.

"This gives me great pleasure," said Deschamps at the FFF press conference on Saturday. "We spent four weeks in our bubble from the world. You know the high esteem that I have for the France national team. What we experienced was happiness. The end was cruel, but my desire is shared by that of my president. I did not hesitate. I needed some time, as I do after every big competition. If I had any hesitation, I would not be here today. There were talks and the president and I met. It is an important sign of confidence to be under contract until 2026. We will go step by step -- results are needed and I am not planning for the next World Cup yet. There are other things coming up."

Saturday's FFF announcement is unlikely to be welcomed unanimously, though, with Deschamps staying on meaning that Zinedine Zidane's return with Les Bleus will have to wait for at least four more years. Deschamps' legendary ex-teammate was the favorite to take over if the role became available but he could now make a return to club management with his pathway still blocked.

The news also means that Karim Benzema's apparent international retirement in the wake of the 2022 final loss should be made permanent. At 35 and with injuries having hampered the Ballon d'Or winner with Real Madrid this season, it is doubtful whether he can remain at the top in terms of form and fitness until 2024 let alone 2026.

Deschamps and Benzema's relationship remained frosty despite the former Olympique Lyonnais man's return from an exile of over five years due to his links with a failed blackmail attempt against former teammate Mathieu Valbuena by associates of his. Benzema's injury on the eve of the tournament in Qatar saw him leave the French squad despite remaining on the group list and eligible for a runners-up medal after their final loss to Argentina.

Another casualty will likely be Benjamin Pavard who fell out with Deschamps during the tournament and faces an uncertain future with both Bayern Munich and Les Bleus. Aside from Benzema, no players have yet confirmed their retirement post-Qatar with captain Hugo Lloris admitting after the penalty defeat to Argentina that he needed time to consider his future and Olivier Giroud 37 next year.

Deschamps showed with this latest run that he is made for this tournament style of management and excels in these sorts of scenarios. His decision also realistically ends any possibility of him stepping back to the club game at the highest level given that his last role ended back in 2012 when he left Olympique de Marseille and that his France tenure could be 14 years deep by 2026.

"To be clear -- I have said four years so it is a four-year deal," added Deschamps. "If I am still here, it is because of the quality of these player. We have a reservoir -- I am aware of how high that quality is. We are not the only country to have that, though. The group of players we had in Doha was very talented and very competitive -- we exuded strength and unity. In my mind, I am not continuing just to continue. I am convinced that we can do great things. We have leaders. Continuity in a trusting climate is very important."

Deschamps' record as France head coach is 89 wins, 28 draws and 22 defeats from 139 games. His longtime assistant Guy Stephan will continue alongside him as well as goalkeeping coach Franck Raviot and fitness coach Cyril Moine. The FFF is currently awaiting the results of an audit which should arrive around mid-February but Deschamps is now safe from that until at least post-Euro 2024 even if the federation presidency could change at the end of Noel le Graet's current mandate which expires in 2024.