Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines - Moussa Sissoko is rarely the
first name on Didier Deschamps' team sheet, but could get a starting place for
France against Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-final on Thursday.
Sissoko, who will decide on his future with Newcastle United
after the tournament, does not complain about being a bit-part player in
"Just being here is huge for me. When I was a kid my
dream was to play professional football and to play for France," he said.
"I've achieved my dream. That gives me strength, and I
try to give everything back to the team when I play."
France on Thursday will look to end a 58-year wait to beat
Germany at a major finals, having last triumphed 6-3 in the match for third
place at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.
And with a place in the July 10 final at stake, Deschamps
has a decision to make.
The last time France suffered defeat when Sissoko started a
game was a 1-0 friendly defeat to Japan in October 2012 in Paris.
But at Euro 2016, the France coach has used his supersub
In France's opening win over Romania, Sissoko started on the
bench as Deschamps deployed a 4-3-3 with N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi and Paul
Pogba operating in midfield.
Amid concerns over his attack, Deschamps then tweaked his
formation to a 4-2-3-1 for a last-gasp 2-0 win over Albania, when Kante and
Matuidi played as holding midfielders.
Also read: Giroud and France eye Germany revenge
Sissoko was given his first start of the tournament in a
three-man midfield alongside Yohan Cabaye and Pogba as France eked out a
scoreless draw with Switzerland.
It earned them top spot in the group and maintained France's
record of going unbeaten when Sissoko starts a game.
Against the Republic of Ireland, Deschamps switched back to
Pogba, Kante and Matuidi. Sissoko made only making a last-gasp appearance for
It took until France's clash with England's conquerors Iceland
for Sissoko to return to the fray.
And again, France fans were not disappointed. With Sissoko
playing on the right side of a three-man midfield in a 4-2-3-1, France forwards
Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud were brought closer together -- and the
effect was sensational.
Giroud scored first, Pogba headed France's second, while
Dmitri Payet and Griezmann found the net to give the hosts a 4-0 half-time
The match finished 5-2 and sealed France's date with
"It was our best performance so far," said
Sissoko, whose presence has also squeezed the best out of an inconsistent
"My job is to close down my flank, push myself forward
when I can and, when we're defending, shut down central midfield with Paul and
"When I'm next to them, we have more defensive
security. Plus, it allows Paul a bit more freedom. He can move forward move
because he knows I can cover him."
Sissoko has no idea if he will be part of Deschamps'
starting line-up on Thursday in Marseille, where France overcame a tough
Albania 2-0 in the group stage at the death thanks to late goals from Griezmann
And he did not play when Germany ousted France from the
quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
But that has not dampened his spirits, nor his ambition.
"We still haven't got over that defeat," he said.
"It will be the right time to make amends.
"I don't know if I'll start against Germany. Of course
I'd like to, but if I start on the bench I'll be ready when the team needs
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