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Deschamps: France still not over Euro final loss

France
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 By Mark Rodden

Didier Deschamps' house vandalised amid Karim Benzema furore

France assistant coach Guy Stephan has hit out at recent accusations made against Didier Deschamps after the manager's house was vandalised.

Both Eric Cantona and Karim Benzema have suggested that the Real Madrid striker may have been overlooked for France's European Championship squad as a result of his family's north African background.

Since then Deschamps has received widespread support from the French Football Federation (FFF) and many of his ex-France teammates. But last weekend his home was vandalised by someone who wrote the word "racist" on one of the walls.

"A crucial match awaits us in five days," Stephan told L'Equipe, referring to France's opening Euro 2016 game against Romania on Friday.

"I say stop the lies, the insinuation, the gossip. Didier's home was graffitied. What will the next step be?"

Karim Benzema of France is replaced by head coach Didier Deschamps after getting injured during the international friendly match between France and Armenia at Allianz Riviera stadium on October 8, 2015 in Nice, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Didier Deschamps has come in for criticism after leaving Karim Benzema out of his Euro 2016 squad.

Stephan said that, while Deschamps is a tough character, he should not have been targeted by Benzema.

"Didier supported him through thick and thin when he didn't score in 13 matches between 2012 and 2013," he said. "Karim didn't say that Didier was racist, but that he gave in to pressure from a racist part of France. There's a nuance. Despite that, what he said is wrong."

According to a survey published in Le Parisien on Sunday, the French public appears to be behind Deschamps. Four out of five people who responded had a favourable opinion of France's 1998 World Cup-winning captain, while 82 percent felt he had taken the right decision by leaving Benzema out of the Euro 2016 squad.

Ninety-five percent of respondents believe that Benzema, 28, was omitted for the reason put forward by the FFF and Deschamps -- because he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail over an alleged attempt to extort funds from France team mate Mathieu Valbuena using a sex tape.

Meanwhile, Stephan maintains that it was unfair of Cantona and Benzema to mix up societal problems with those of the national team.

"There is no denying the problems of integration," Stephan told L'Equipe. "They're not specific to France.

"We shouldn't deny the problems of discrimination [and] the economic problems which also weigh a lot on the general atmosphere. But to transfer all those troubles on to the French football team and its manager in particular -- it's intolerable and unacceptable."

Mark covers European football for ESPN FC. Twitter: @mrodden

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