With a week or so, it has been exactly three months since the France team has won more. The last time was on June 15 in Munich against Germany (1-0) thanks to a goal from Hummels against his camp.
After this match, the Blues have chained five draws. And not always against top of the class. Hungary (1-1), Bosnia (1-1), Ukraine (1-1) are respectively 37th, 58th and 25th in the world rankings.
Before the Euro, we heard regularly: “No matter the players, there is such a reservoir at the disposal of Didier Deschamps”. This is wrong! We were put to sleep by these reflections due to an excess of enthusiasm (or pretension).
Against Germany, Didier Deschamps lined up nine world champions at the kickoff, with three changes compared to the eleven type of the 2018 world championship: Kimpembé in defense instead of? Umtiti, Rabiot in the middle to that of Matuidi and Benzema in front of the place of Giroud.
Three changes made mandatory by the circumstances (lack of playing time for Umtiti and Giroud, exile in MLS for Matuidi).
Against Ukraine last Wednesday, only three players in the World Cup final were on the pitch: Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, to which we can add Presnel Kimpembé, present at the the 2018 campaign (one match played).
If we are to believe the information from Lyon, we should not find more than four world champions at the kickoff tonight against Finland: Lloris, Varane, Pogba and Griezmann. If we joust Rabiot, Digne and Benzema, we see that the France team has seen more than a third of its players replaced in the space of less than three month.
Which would not be a concern if the substitutes in question were first choices. But, without offending them, it is far from being the case. We know since the Euro, Leo Dubois is only â ???? at best â ???? the third choice for the position of right-back behind Benjamin Pavard and Jules Koundé. In the middle, Jordan VÃ © retout is not better. On the contrary: Ngolo KantÃ ©, but also Corentin Tolisso and even AurÃ © lien TchouamÃ © ni, are in front.
And we are not talking about the choice of Digne on the left, while Ferland Mendy or Theo Hernandez seem to have the potential to be ahead in the hierarchy.
Ditto in central defense. One can think that Dayot Upamecano (forfeit), holder since the start of the season at Bayern, had a step ahead of Kurt Zouma to replace Raphaël Varane or Presnel Kimpembe.
Moussa Diaby is one in the same case. If the former Parisian (now in Leverkusen) had a few interesting minutes in Ukraine, he has come a long way. The first choices to replace Kylian Mbappé are rather Ousmane Dembélé or Kingsley Coman.
Sorry, but the team announced for tonight (Lloris â ???? Dubois, Varane, Zouma, Digne â ???? Veretout, Rabiot, Pogba, Diaby â ??? ? Griezmann, Benzema) is very far from the level of that of the World Cup final (Lloris â ???? Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, L. Hernandez â ???? KantÃ ©, Pogba, Matuidi â ???? Griezmann, Mbappé, Giroud), but also of the one who beat Germany for their first Euro match (Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, L. Hernandez – Pogba, Kante, Rabiot â ???? Griezmann, MbappÃ ©, Benzema). Admittedly, the latter crashed in the last ten minutes against Switzerland, but it looked different.
It’s obvious: without Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Ngolo KantÃ © or Kylian MbapppÃ ©, the French team has much less talent. The problem is that she has also lost this collective strength that inhabited her in 2018, and can no longer compensate.
Blame it on Didier Deschamps? In part, but not only. If the coach seems to be running out of solutions in his management and does not give the impression of always making the best choices, we are realizing that the reservoir of French football is far away to be so rich in top world level players.
As a midfielder, for example: out of the top 5 in Ligue 1 (PSG, Lyon, Monaco, Nice and Marseille, read here), how many French people can we find? five: AurÃ © lien Tchouameni and Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Maxence Caqueret (Lyon) as well as the Marseillais Matteo Guendouzzi and Boubacar Kamara.
Out of ten side posts, how many French? Two: Djibril Sidibé (Monaco) and Leo Dubois (Lyon).
Of course, you will tell us: “today the best French players play mainly abroad”, but how many occupy key positions in the middle (defensive) or on one side of the defense in big European clubs? None apart from the brothers Hernandez (Bayern and AC Milan), as well as Pavard (Bayern) and Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid).
Among them, two (Luca Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard) were trained as central defenders. It is besides in this post that plays Jules Koundé in SÃ © ville.
However, we know that in modern football, full backs have practically become the most important players in a team. They are also the most complete. To be on top, they must know how to defend, attack and cross.
The sad draw of hopes in the Faroe Islands has unfortunately confirmed to us that the French team is failing at this level. In this meeting the laterals (Truffert and Kalulu) were below everything.
This is nothing new. Since Euro 96, the prelude to victory at the 1998 World Cup, the choice has often been made to move central defenders in the corridors (Thuram, Pavard, L. Hernandezâ ?? ¦ and now KoundÃ © â ?? ¦).
As Paul Pogba rightly says: “We are not the best team in the world”. No, if the issue led to debate in 2018, it is no longer the case today. On paper, the squad announced for tonight is barely worth a spot in the world top 15.
In principle, that should be enough to beat Finland (56th world nation, which has never played in a World Cup finals in its history), but on condition that it no longer takes itself for what we are no longer …
> The probable team against Finland: Lloris (cap) – Dubois, Varane, Zouma, Digne – VÃ © retout, Pogba, Rabiot, Diaby – Griezmann, Benzema
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