France ready to do their job in Moldova, says Pogba

We are motivated for first Euro 2020 qualifier, midfielder Pogba has said

In Summary

•France are drawn alongside Moldova, Albania, Turkey, Andorra and Iceland

•The top two qualify for the finals, which are being staged across 12 countries

France's Paul Pogba during the press conference
France's Paul Pogba during the press conference

France’s trip to face Moldova in Chisinau might be far from the glitter of a World Cup but they will be just as motivated for their first Euro 2020 qualifier, midfielder Paul Pogba has said.

Le Bleus have played six games - four in the Nations League — since beating Croatia 4-2 to win the 2018 World Cup but tonight’s Group H opener will be their first leading to a major competition.

“It’s true that it’s not so easy to come back and to have new goals right away after winning the World Cup,” Pogba said.

“But we have to, it’s our job. And we have to remain professional. But now we’re going right into the competition, it’s the qualifiers. We want to win, we want to be the first in the group.”

France were drawn with Moldova, Albania, Turkey, Andorra and Iceland, who they face at the Stade de France on Monday.

The top two qualify for the finals, which are being staged across 12 countries.

Coach Didier Deschamps called up Kingsley Coman after the Bayern Munich forward was omitted from the World Cup squad.

The 22-year-old is determined to play at Euro 2020.

“It’s never easy, it can be easy if we make it easy,” he told reporters. “We have to go into all the matches fully focused and stay motivated.

“I think the team is still hungry for trophies. But to do great things we first have to qualify.”

Meanwhile, Pogba believes England’s Raheem Sterling is sometimes treated differently by the British media because he is black and does not get the recognition he deserves for his achievements.

Speaking ahead of France’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Moldova tonight, the Manchester United midfielder also said Sterling was unfairly criticised for what he does off the field.

Manchester City forward Sterling said in December that newspapers were helping ‘fuel racism’ with their portrayal of young black players, highlighting how they were treated differently to young white players by the media.

“Sometimes it happens,” Pogba said when asked whether the media treated Sterling differently because of the colour of his skin. “What I’ve been seeing is he’s been criticised for houses and what I’ve been hearing things about, but nobody talks about what he’s been doing on the pitch. He has ridiculous stats, he’s scored goals and made a hat-trick not long ago. He’s been top with City. Maybe if he was somebody else, it would be different.”

“I always say racism in football shouldn’t happen, because football is a sport, a beautiful sport and makes people happy. When somebody is doing a great job, he should deserve the same reward as somebody else who does the same job.”