Last weekend, Didier Deschamps chalked up another significant achievement in a remarkable career.
He became the longest-serving coach of France when he oversaw his 80th game as Les Bleus beat Argentina 4-3 in a thriller to go through to Friday’s World cup quarter-final against Uruguay.
Six years have passed since he replaced Laurent Blanc but how long he carries on could come down to what happens in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday, when France and their fearsome attack come up against the formidable Uruguayan defense. The French Football Federation set a semi-final place as Russia, and a last-eight exit would leave a sense of potential unfulfilled in the Deschamps era.
The FFF have said that the coach, who turns 50 this year, will stay around until 2020 when his contract expires.
Nevertheless, a disappointing exit and his position will look rather fragile at a time when Zinedine Zidane is a free man having left Real Madrid.
Many France fans will have longed for Zidane as they watched their national team’s performances in the group stage, especially in the insipid 0-0 draw with Denmark.
The display against Argentina was what the public had been crying out for, with the explosive Kylian Mbappe eclipsing Lionel Messi as the French tore apart a fragile defence.
“There has been criticism, and there always will be. But the truth comes with what happens on the pitch,” Deschamps told French television after that game.
Diego Godin and co will not leave the same kind of space to exploit in the quarter-finals, though, as the coach looks to avoid falling at the same hurdle as four years ago when they lost to Germany.
Since then, France have lost the Euro 2016 final on home soil to Portugal. Despite topping their qualifying group for this World cup, the lowlights included a 0-0 draw with minnows Luxembourg.
Deschamps has Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir in his squad.