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Feb 24, 2014

Didier Deschamps pleased with draw

France coach Didier Deschamps expressed satisfaction that his team will face some strong opposition before the country hosts the next European championship.

Brewin: Conclusions from Euro 2016 qualifying draw
• SPI predictions for Euro 2016 groups

Les Bleus were placed in Group I of the qualifiers for Euro 2016 along with Portugal, Denmark, Serbia, Armenia and Albania.

France are assured of their place at the tournament as hosts, however, and Deschamps is unsure of how the other teams will approach what are effectively friendly matches against his side.

But the former Les Bleus captain pointed out that the results will count towards the FIFA world rankings, which are used to establish seedings for World Cup qualifying.

"Our opponents are free to determine their priorities," he told L'Equipe. "There's a table and we'll be integrated into it, even if it won't have any repercussions at the end.

"There are also FIFA ranking points, because our matches will be considered as competitive ones."

France will play Serbia away in their first group game on Sept. 7, before hosting Portugal on Oct. 11.

"That offers us a glamour tie," Deschamps said. "And then there's Cristiano Ronaldo. Even if it's not only him, hosting Portugal in France with such a player, that's a good thing."

With the draw completed, the former Juventus and Marseille coach will once again turn his attention to this summer's World Cup.

France were drawn in Group E for the tournament in Brazil, along with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

Their next match in preparation for the competition is against Netherlands in Paris on March 5.

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