Football: with new faces, the French team aims to rebound

Everyone still has the image in mind. On December 18, 2022, after a match with a completely crazy scenario, the France team left its title of world champion to the Argentines after a cruel penalty shootout. A bitter defeat and a crushing blow for the supporters.

Four months later, the hour of reunion has come. Didier Deschamps unveiled his first post-World Cup list on Thursday March 16, with a view to qualifying for the next Euro (in Germany in 2024). Having to respond to the international retirements of captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and his understudy Steve Mandanda, the coach called on AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, whose last World Cup was prevented by injury, as well as Lensois goalkeeper Brice Samba. , who thus knows his first convocation. Alphonse Areola, eternal third goalkeeper since the 2018 World Cup in Russia, completes the trio.

In defense, Chelsea player Wesley Fofana, on the strength of his successful performances, took advantage of Raphaël Varane’s retirement and joined the Blues, alongside Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konaté, William Saliba, Benjamin Pavard, Jules Koundé, Théo Hernandez and Eduardo Camavinga.

In the long-term absence of his midfield leaders Paul Pogba and Ngolo Kanté, the coach is banking on individuals present last November such as Aurélien Tchouaméni, Adrien Rabiot, Jordan Veretout and Youssouf Fofana and giving a chance to a small new, the Niçois Khéphren Thuram, brother of Marcus, son of the former defender and ex-record holder for the number of selections, Lilian Thuram.

The attack, meanwhile, relies on a large talent pool already seen in Qatar. Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Randal Kolo Muani, Kingsley Coman, Marcus Thuram and veteran Olivier Giroud (36) are in the game. Moussa Diaby, not summoned to the last World Cup, returns to the tricolor group.

Managers in their clubs

Like Kylian Mbappé, currently one of the best players in the world, individuals shine in their respective clubs and, past the disappointment of the Qatari World Cup, are now aiming for a title that has eluded them since 2000: the Euro. The next one will take place in Germany in barely a year and a half.

Didier Deschamps will have to appoint a new captain, after the departures of Hugo Lloris and Raphaël Varane. In a press conference, during the presentation of his list, he did not reveal his decision. “Discussions with the players who can claim it must take place”, explained the coach, while confirming that Antoine Griezmann or Kylian Mbappé were potential candidates. “I’m not going with the idea of ​​rotating the armband. I prefer to have a well-defined choice,” detailed the boss of the Blues.

A sure legacy

Whatever the name of the coach’s future relay in the field, Didier Deschamps knows that the break-in period for this new epic will be short, even almost non-existent. “We are going to be in tough right away, these two games (Netherlands on March 24 and Ireland on March 27) are going to be important to us. » The lessons of the last World Cup tend to prove that this remodeled team, adding new faces and sure values, already has the capacity to go far. “In my mind, there is always the idea of ​​preparing for the long term,” also recalled Didier Deschamps.

Expected, the tricolor selection is still one of the favorite European teams. The now ex-captain Hugo Lloris was not mistaken after the final against Argentina. “This tournament can be used for the future of the France teamthen commented the goalkeeper of the Blues. There are some handovers that have taken place between the generation arriving in the last phase of their career and a new generation of players. »

His recently retired compatriot Raphaël Varane was also planning for the future: “This group is young. Our generation has also built its successes on defeats. This group will rise again and come back stronger. He has enormous potential and he has heart. » The answer on the ground from Friday March 24, against the Netherlands.


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