France World Cup 2022 squad guide Les Bleus destineto go big
เวลาปล่อย：2023-03-18 21:06 เรียกดู :[Back]
From the glory of World Cup 2018 to the ignominy of an early exit from Euro 2020 before a return to form in winning the 2020-21 Nations League, it has been a case of feast or famine forFrancein recent years.
They have incredible talent at their disposal, but their preparations for thisWorld Cuphave been far from smooth
As one of only three men to have won the tournament as a player and a coach (alongside Brazils Mario Zagallo and West Germanys Franz Beckenbauer), Didier Deschamps is already World Cup royalty.
An avowed pragmatist, his fierce winning spirit honed in an intensively competitive environment at Juventus in the late 1990s, Deschamps led France to glory in 2018 in a characteristically dogged fashion.Les Bleusground their way through the group phase, edged a thriller against Argentina in the last 16 and delivered ruthlessly professional performances to beat Uruguay and Belgium before riding their luck somewhat to do the same to Croatia in the final.
His challenge since then has been to take France to another level, but with Deschamps having summarily jettisoned the 3-4-1-2 system he had been working on for the best part of a year on the eve of this tournament, his team head to Qatar as a work in progress.
Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot appear set to form a new-look central midfield partnership for France after 2018 stalwarts Paul Pogba and NGolo Kante were both ruled out by injury, but this World Cup could also represent an opportunity for Youssouf Fofana to make a name for himself.
The hard-working 23-year-old formed an effective engine-room duo with Tchouameni at Monaco and has shown signs in his two international appearances so far that he could be the man to make up at least some of the industry shortfall created by Kantes absence.
Well, it was their frontline until the eve of the tournament, when Karim Benzema withdrew from the squad with a thigh injury.
In Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and freshly crowned Ballon dOr winner Benzema, France possessed a strike force that was the envy of the footballing world.With Griezmann sitting deep, Mbappe darting into space and Benzema effortlessly binding the whole thing together, the trio led France to glory in last years UEFA Nations League and although they do not always appear to be on the same wavelength, they are devastating when they do click.
Benzema is out but its arguably still an area of strength for France. Deschamps still has Mbappe and Griezmann, who are both fit and in form, and he can turn to the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Kingsley Coman, Marcus Thuram, Randal Kolo Muani and Olivier Giroud plus whoever he picks to replace Benzema.
The biggest challenge facing Deschamps is how to plug the gaping hole in midfield created by the absences of Pogba and Kante. Tchouameni and Rabiot, Frances nominal first-choice pairing now in central midfield, have very little experience of playing alongside each other and the other four central midfielders in the squad Fofana, Eduardo Camavinga, Matteo Guendouzi and Jordan Veretout have only 17 caps between them.
Deschamps will also have precious little time to drill his players tactically, having used his squad announcement press conference to reveal that he had decided to abandon the 3-4-1-2 system France used to win the Nations League just over a year ago in favour of playing with a back four. Should he return to the lopsided 4-2-3-1 configuration that proved so effective at Russia 2018, it would oblige Mbappe to adopt a wide role, which may not be to the strikers liking. Fitness scares concerning Benzema, Raphael Varane, Jules Kounde, Lucas Hernandez and Presnel Kimpembe (Benzema and Kimpembe were late withdrawals from the squad) have only served to create further uncertainty.
With Varane a doubt for opening game against Australia and Samuel Umtiti no longer in the picture due to long-term injury problems, France could go into the tournament deprived of both central midfieldersandboth central defenders from their World Cup triumph in Moscow and Benzema.
He was the only outfield player in Frances squad not to play a single minute at the 2018 World Cup, but centre-back Adil Rami was credited with playing a vital role in helping create a relaxed and jovial atmosphere behind the scenes. Not that all of his jokes went entirely to plan during some late-night tomfoolery after that 4-3 win over Argentina in the last 16, Rami set off a fire extinguisher that caused the entire team hotel to be evacuated. Luckily for him, a pyjamas-clad Deschamps saw the funny side.
Now 36 and turning out for Troyes in Ligue 1, Rami will not play at this World Cup, but Frances lucky charm from four years back will still be present after being signed up to provide punditry for French television rights-holder TF1.
By bouncing back from a disappointing last-16 exit at last years Euros to win the Nations League just three months later, France re-established their credentials as 2022 World Cup contenders and will head into the tournament with the semi-finals as a minimum objective. But a troubled build-up has revived memories of some of the disastrous major tournament performances of the pre-Deschamps years.
On top of the injuries and the teams underwhelming form, France have been assailed by all sorts of off-pitch controversies, from allegations thatPogba paid a witch doctor to put a curse on Mbappeto a stand-off between players and the French Football Federation (FFF) over the squads commercial obligations and accusations (strongly denied) that FFF president Noel Le Graet sent inappropriate text messages to female colleagues.
With Deschamps contract set to expire at the end of the tournament and fellow 1998 World Cup winning player Zinedine Zidane widely expected to then take up the reins, there is already a sense of fin de regneaboutthis team. While there is huge talent in the French squad, there are also big problems.
As has so often been the case at recent World Cups, France look destined to either go big or go home early.
Read more:See the rest of The Athletics World Cup 2022 squad guides
Read more:France vs. Australia result: Reigning champions battle back to win World Cup opener
Read more:Olivier Giroud tied Frances scoring record as France beat Australia 4-1
Read more:Kylian Mbappe scored a pair of goals to lift France over Denmark 2-1 and advance to the knockout stage
Read more:France beat Poland 3-1 behind two Kylian Mbappe goals to advance to the quarterfinals
(Main graphic photo: Getty Images/design: Sam Richardson)
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