France need a ‘miracle’ to win the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, according to their coach Didier Deschamps.
The 1998 World champions have been drawn with Switzerland, Honduras and Ecuador in Group E at the showpiece event.
France have endured a turbulent ride since that triumphant display on home soil 16 years ago, with success at Euro 2000 and a runner-up finish at the 2006 World Cup softening the blow of recent failures.
The nation failed to make it out of the group stage at the 2010 World Cup, exiting without a win against Uruguay, Mexico and host’s South Africa.
France also narrowly accounted for Ukraine (3-2 on aggregate) in a World Cup qualifying play-off to make it to Brazil, having finished second in their qualification group behind champions Spain.
The 19th-ranked nation’s performances have not filled Deschamps with much confidence ahead of their opening game against Honduras in Porto Alegre on June 15.
“I’m going to Brazil with lots of ambition but I’m a realist, too,” Deschamps, who featured in both of France’s triumphs at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, said on Soccerway.
“There are countries that are much better than us on paper. We can’t hide from the truth. The only match that France won in the group stage of a World Cup in the last 12 years was against Togo in 2006.”
Deschamps added: “I can’t talk about winning the World Cup.
“There are teams who are far ahead of us, including a team who won the last World Cup and the last two European Championships (Spain). There are six or seven. To win it for us would be viewed as a miracle.”
The French national team have also been plagued by a number of off-field incidents, with Nicolas Anelka, Patrice Evra and Samir Nasri some of the player’s dominating the headlines for all the wrong reasons.