Euro 2021: France dominates Germany with a burning Pogba and an iron defense

When Pogba goes, everything is fine. This saying inherited from the 2018 World Cup, where the Manchester player was imperial in the game and decisive in the state of mind of the France group, was again verified, Tuesday, June 15 against Germany, during of the entry into contention of the Blues. For at least seventy minutes, he flew over his subject, multiplying offensive gestures in the first half. Starting with this bright opening of forty meters for the benefit of a Lucas Herdandez launched like a ball on the left flank, before centering hard on an unfortunate Mats Hummels, author of a goal against his camp.

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Inside of the foot, outside, high flight of his endless legs to pick a ball in the air, powerful sweep in the feet of the opponent, release of a shoulder blow from his great body, the Manchester player has released the complete panoply which had made him one of the best players of the World Cup 2018. The aggressiveness in addition, unlike a less brilliant entry into the running in 2018 against Australia, at the end of which it had taken Didier Deschamps winding the Pogba clock, which he knows all about.

The coach also took the key out of his pocket at the start of the second half, while the blue boat swayed a little. In two barks, the chef put the player back in the right tempo, triggering this famous gesture of helplessness – arms outstretched and hands falling limply on the thighs – indicating that “ sorry he can’t be the best all the time “. This attitude which is worth the Mancunien some reproaches on his supposed arrogance in England is the sign for the coach that his player is in fact at the best, and able to do even better.

Cloakroom boss

For example to convince his teammates that they too can still give more. Against Germans cornered to make sometimes nasty mistakes, he put on his cloakroom boss’s tunic, as in 2018. His famous harangue at the end of the victorious semi-final against Belgium, intended to convince the friends that they hadn’t won anything yet, again served against Germany. For the benefit of a Kylian Mbappé sometimes discouraged to see his various arrows broken by arbitration. Right on his goal denied and his assist to Karim Benzema, but more questionably after a tackle in the box that was not whistled. When he shows himself as strong in the exercise of recovery from the field as the morale of his partners, Pogba is unique. The only one capable, no doubt, of commanding a Karim Benzema or a Kylian Mbappé to run at full speed… to the rear to come to the aid of the defense.

But what would an uninsured half-back be? If the Mancunian was able to assault so often, it was because he knew he could count on a solid rearguard. We often put forward the magic triangle of the French attack, but it is also on the side of the defensive quartet that it happens. Often called upon by German-style play – large crosses on the side turning into powerful centers – the central hinge did not squeak once. This point of weakness during Euro 2016 gave complete satisfaction. With Pogba as a barker in front and Raphaël Varane as a sentinel, we sometimes say to ourselves – obviously wrongly – that not much can happen to this team.

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Because captain Varane was able to count on world-class lieutenants, world champions in fact. His partner, the discreet Presnel Kimpembe, who is rarely mentioned in the gazettes, made an impeccable and sober copy. In this invisible role of curtain ready to close off all opposing ambitions, he is irreplaceable. As are the two full-backs, Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, who played at home on the lawn of the Allianz Arena of their club Bayern Munich. As always the left-hander Hernandez was the most daring in these offensive rides that are required of modern full-backs.

Didier Deschamps: “We gave nothing”

At a press conference at the end of the match, Didier Deschamps first greeted these men. “We didn’t give anything, we defended very well, we need this collective strength, beyond talent, that’s what we have to keep”, he said, adding for the benefit of his supporters: “I know what they can do, I didn’t have to worry. “

The observers either, in view of the performance of these four, well helped by attackers who have never hesitated to come to the hand. Particularly Antoine Griezmann, very discreet in the offensive animation, but excellent in the withdrawal. Saturday, June 19, we will expect more from Barcelona against Hungarians heavily beaten by ultra-defensive Portuguese despite a score (3-0) which does not reflect the physiognomy of the match. This time, the floor will be the front trio, just to open wide the door to the round of 16 already open.


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