After winning the star at the Russian World Cup in 2018, Didier “Super Mario” Deschamps stopped flashing two months ago in Bucharest. Since the incredible elimination of his Blues by Switzerland in the round of 16 of the Euro (3-3, 5-4 at the tabs), the coach is no longer invincible, nor immune from criticism until then more or less muted.
Comforted by his boss Noël Le Graët but weakened, the 52-year-old Basque, nine of whom as a coach, is playing big as of this comeback, with the resumption of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar, scheduled in barely 15 months (not to mention the finals of the “prestigious” League of Nations in October).
Lloris talks about his scoumoune during the penalty shoot-out against Switzerland at the Euro via @20minutesSport https://t.co/iQprEj2bTi
— 20 Minutes Sport (@20minutesSport) August 25, 2021
It is this Thursday at 2 p.m. that Deschamps will list the elements supposed to restore the national image, against Bosnia in Strasbourg, in Ukraine then against Finland in Décines, on September 1, 4 and 7. But the work that awaits him goes well beyond the composition of his group.
Giroud, end clap?
“There are always pages that turn, yes, unless the players turn it themselves, but it’s rare. This quote halfway between football and literature comes from a long interview given by Deschamps to The team, last Friday. There will inevitably be a change in the list communicated from the headquarters of the FFF compared to the 26 of the Euro, due to injuries (Dembélé for sure, but also no doubt Thuram or even Pavard and Lucas Hernandez) or date of international expiry date exceeded.
Even if he has finally found a club where he will play more than five games per season, the neo-Milanese Olivier Giroud (35) is worried when we read the multiple spades launched by DD in the said interview, including that of -Here: “Olivier and a few others, it was in 2018, but today we are in 2021 and I am not here to give assurances to anyone. “
The coach, who on the contrary praises the merits of his competitor Karim Benzema, also did not like the exit of the second highest scorer in the history of the Blues (46 goals) after France-Bulgaria in a prep match, on “The balloons that do not arrive”, creating a pre-Euro controversy with Mbappé. The faithful Steve Mandanda (36 years old) and Moussa Sissoko (32 years old) could also make some gray hair as for their future in selection.
A workforce to skate
With a majority of executives in the prime of life, the revolution is not a priori for this Thursday in the France team. Not the kind of manager anyway, despite Benzema’s “bombazo” in the spring.
Difficult to predict the news that DD reserves for this Thursday: return of Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich)? Arrivals of Théo Hernandez (AC Milan), Aurélien Tchouaméni (Monaco) or Moussa Diaby, the Leverkusen striker trained at PSG who applied in a recent interview with AFP? Reminder of the neo-Trojan Adil Rami (we’re kidding)?
However, some sites are open, particularly in defense, where the hinge has creaked a lot at the Euro and where the right-back position remains the eternal weak link, pending the possible advent of Madrid’s Ferland Mendy.
Adieu, « beautiful game » ?
Mbappé, Benzema, Griezmann, Coman, Dembélé… Stacking world-class forwards, it can work at Mon Petit Gazon, less in real life. “Even though I consider that the more offensive option, of a four-man attack, was valid, I had confirmation, as I was convinced before, that it was doable in 30 minutes or a half. time, but that over a whole match, facing an opponent capable of holding the ball, it is much more complicated, ”Deschamps explains in the famous interview.
Between tactical considerations and ego concerns, it is not easy to bring together all these beautiful people in front, while maintaining balance and defensive solidity, trademarks of the DD Blues before shattering this summer.
Recovering the seal will be the main work of the pragmatic coach, who we could clearly see his 4-2-3-1 come out of the Russian World Cup (but without Matuidi as a left “winger”). There is more exciting as a program. But after all, the quest for a third World Cup is well worth a few 90-minute snapshots on the couch.
Team cohesion threatened?
Coming out of a failed competition with a weakened coach, there is better way to look to the future with serenity, even if after three days of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, the Blues occupy the head of a group as formidable as a toothless Yorkshire (Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia, Kazakhstan). Deschamps’ debates with Paul Pogba on the management of the famous “money time” against the Swiss (raised from 1-3 to 80th to 3-3 at the end of regulatory time, for those with amnesia) or his very lively discussion with Kingsley Coman on his replacement during extra time had never been seen under his mandate.
This Wednesday in The team, “Captain” Lloris promises sacred union. “We will come back with the desire to prove, to restart the machine, to seek qualification as soon as possible, and to play the League of Nations thoroughly in October, thunders the Tottenham goalkeeper. The most important thing today is to get up together. “
The Niçois relativizes the failure of the Euro, compared to “completely failed competitions, on the human and sporting level, as I have known”. Because yes, Hugo was already the holder of the Blues in 2010 in Knysna.
Indeed, Euro 2021 (or 2020, as you want) has nothing to do with the South African World Cataclysmic, fatal to Raymond Domenech. But Deschamps and the Blues will have to react quickly to accredit the thesis of the banal mishap.