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Didier Deschamps hails Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez

Deschamps hails Pavard, Hernandez
© Reuters
France boss Didier Deschamps praises Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, with the pair both playing key roles in Les Bleus' winning the 2018 World Cup.

France boss Didier Deschamps has lavished praise on Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, with the pair both playing key roles in Les Bleus winning the 2018 World Cup.

Neither Pavard nor Lucas were assured of spots in the team ahead of this summer's tournament, but both excelled after being handed starting roles by Deschamps.

The France boss has said that the pair "established the defence", and he reserved special praise for Stuttgart's Pavard, calling the 22-year-old "a star".

"Despite their former status and some inexperience at this level, Benjamin Pavard and Lucas [Hernandez] were brilliant and stabilised the defence," Deschamps told Kicker.

"These two fighters made a big difference. Benjamin has become a star and he deserves it. He's not so media-focused. He's very friendly, appreciated by his teammates, and has an incredible amount of self-confidence.

"He once said to me: 'I'm not afraid of anyone!' So I told him: 'You can think that, but never say it to the media.'"

Pavard is believed to be a transfer target for a number of European clubs ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

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Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois denies Benjamin Pavard during the World Cup semi-final against France on July 10, 2018
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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