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 By Reuters

Paul Pogba 'very likely' starting France's World Cup opener - Didier Deschamps

Paul Pogba is still "very likely" to start France's World Cup opener against Australia, France boss Didier Deschamps says, despite some underwhelming performances during the recent friendlies.

Deschamps, speaking to TF1, said Pogba "responded very well to my concerns" in France's 1-1 draw against the United States in Lyon on Saturday after he struggled in the 3-1 victory against Italy on June 1.

"I defended him after the match in Nice against Italy," Deschamps said. "He was much better yesterday against the USA.

"There are very high expectations for him. It's normal, and when he does things well, he always has to do better. But, with all that Paul is able to do, it's always about the team. That is what's important to me."

Deschamps also said Olivier Giroud should be fit for the game on June 16 after leaving the pitch with a bloodied forehead on Saturday.

Giroud has "a beautiful cut of six centimetres but he should be ready," Deschamps said.

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