Can the world champion France overcome a lackluster start to qualifying for the World Cup to get back in shape before the summer Euros?

Can the world champion France overcome a lackluster start to qualifying for the World Cup to get back in shape before the summer Euros?

France currently sit first in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group D in the UEFA zone with four points from two matches to lead opponents Finland, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina to Wednesday.

However, it is somewhat surprising to see the world champions only on four points given that Ukraine at home, Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina away have been about as favorable as they can get.

The French started off on the wrong foot at Stade de France last Wednesday with a 1-1 draw against organized Ukrainian side Andriy Shevchenko with a goal against his side of Presnel Kimpembe canceling out a magnificent – albeit controversial – opening game. ‘Antoine Griezmann while Kylian Mbappe missed.

“I will discuss it quietly with him,” said head coach Didier Deschamps after the match. “He knows he didn’t have a good game. He wasn’t feeling his best and he couldn’t really settle into the game. The adversary has adapted; there were two or three players on him all the time. The Ukrainian configuration made things difficult. for him to influence the game.

“Considering how good Kylian has, I understand the opponent is taking these steps. We need to be able to find him in space, and sometimes have a couple of our guys around him. There are also choices he has to make on his own: lean over others, and maybe find more balance between dribbling and passing. ”

It is not the results of France or Mbappe that are starting to worry ahead of the 2020 UEFA European Championship 2020 reorganized this summer: it is their performances and this tie contrasts sharply with the friendly 7-1 victory over the same. nation recently last October. .

Although the Blues dominated UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 late last year after a 1-0 away win over group stage opponents Portugal of the Euro, in November, we had the impression that the French were at best in third gear during large games. three years since the success of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Deschamps remains loyal to many of his loyal servants despite problems with form or playing time and while that can be admirable, it also stifles emerging talents with Houssem Aouar of Olympique Lyonnais and Eduardo Camavinga of Stade Rennais made available for less than 21 euros instead of seniors. WC qualifications.

OL have since withdrawn and it was only the SRFC prodigy, who scored his first goal in the aforementioned 7-1 beating of Ukraine, but with those kinds of decisions he is not surprising that France seems to be crawling at the senior level now. .

This summer, Deschamps’ men will face Germany, Portugal and Hungary in Group F at the Euros and instead enter the tournament as big favorites to add another trophy to their collection as part of their developing football dynasty, it feels like they might be disappointing.

Of course, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Mbappe, Barcelona’s Griezmann, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, they’ll always have the quality to beat any opponent on the same day – the problem is which one point these days arrive irregularly.

Nations League victories over the Netherlands, Germany and WC 2018 casualties Croatia were arguably the biggest results since their success against the Croats in Luzhniki, but these three nations appear to be in. decline since the last World Cup and France is also suffering.

Against Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the French lacked dynamism, purpose and the desire to assert their superiority and they paid the price at home to the first by conceding a goal without their visitors actually having a shot on target during of the 90 minutes of play. a dull display.

In Kazakhstan, Ousmane Dembele’s opener was followed by an own goal and Mbappe failed to convert a penalty in the second half, which would have made the final score more convincing than the collective performance. .

“The France team is behaving well and will continue to do so,” said Deschamps. “There weren’t any big scores in the other matches on Saturday either. It is not easy for anyone. You have an opponent and a busy schedule of matches and everything that came before. These are not excuses. I told the players at the conference. getting the job done, winning was the bare minimum, but we won.

“There were nine new players from the Ukraine game, but they already had experience. I will not blame them for doing well. Qualifications are always difficult; the main thing is to reach the goal. The whole team. responded in a tough game against an opponent who showed a lot of drive and motivation.

“If I have one regret, it’s our lack of a tip as we were looking to increase the score line towards the end. But these three points have the same value as those taken against other teams. We will appreciate it because everything is going very well. quick. ”

With Deschamps unlikely to change his current squad too much before this summer’s Euros, midweek Bosnia is one of the last chances for him to win over his players before they start the tournament as a team. and the first evidence is that this group has a long way to go to realize their potential.


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