Two months later, the Bleuets are back: Always so impressive on paper, the France Espoirs team resumes the thread of its Euro on Monday with a quarter-final against the Netherlands in Budapest, which can open the road to a title awaited since 1988.
Sylvain Ripoll’s workforce is so rich that when Didier Deschamps deprives him of one of his pillars, Jules Koundé, called up for the A, he replaces him with … an A, Dayot Upamecano in this case.
In addition to the future central defender of Bayern Munich, three other Bleuets arrived Friday in Budapest have already worn the jersey of the “big” team of France: Houssem Aouar, Eduardo Camavinga and Jonathan Ikoné.
And in all lines, the workforce is overflowing with players honed to the requirements of the big clubs, the top players and the Champions League. What to dream of a rare title for French football, only won in 1988 by another generation of great talent, that of Blanc, Cantona, Martini or Sauzée.
“We know that we have a talented team. But we also know that we must do everything to create the best possible chemistry,” Monaco midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni warned at the start of the week.
Because the Bleuets, favorite as they are, were also scalded by the first match of the group stage, lost at the end of March against Denmark (1-0) and its players infinitely less rated than them.
This match “where there was nothing” deeply annoyed Ripoll, who made it the example of everything to be avoided at the highest level, and in particular Monday against the Netherlands of Justin Kluivert and two knowledge of Ligue 1, Lille Sven Botman and Parisian Mitchell Bakker.
“Denmark, in the end, it was beneficial for us. It’s a little slap that gives us experience and the coach will not let that happen twice,” Tchouaméni assured.
“I think we have learned the lesson. It’s a playoff game and it will be essential to start foot to the ground,” confirmed the coach on Sunday at a press conference.
“I felt players very concerned and very invested, who know that they have the opportunity to do something big,” added the former coach of Lorient who, in the absence of Reine-Adelaide and Guendouzi , must find a new captain, who could be Aouar or future Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konaté.
The coach of the Espoirs also hopes that the Netherlands, which had been absent from the Euro since 2013, will be less closed opponents than those, hardly focused on the offensive adventure, that the French are used to facing.
“It may offer other perspectives. We have seen a lot of their matches and we think it’s a team that will not deny itself. So we may face a lower block,” he said. he thus explained Sunday.
The hypothesis would also allow him to take advantage of the speed and sense of percussion of Moussa Diaby, unavailable because of the Covid during the first phase and who had missed a lot.
The public also had missed, and there will be Monday at Bozsik Stadion, the stadium of the club of Honved, where the counters will be open, without gauge or limitation.