While French football has invaded the section of various events in the last days, the Blues had the good idea to win a football match this Thursday in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) against Austria (2-0) during the 5me League of Nations Day. Yes, UEFA’s latest creation still smells a little new, but the winner manages to find charm in it. This was the case last October with a team from France, triumphant in Turin, but already out of the race to succeed since their bad run in June (two draws, two losses).
“There is nothing better than victory”, launched a concise and somewhat relieved Didier Deschamps. Not yet enough to hoist the flags in the windows or honk the horn on the Champs Elysées. In the coach’s mind, this autumn session against Austria and then Denmark on Sunday in Copenhagen was going to be a final rehearsal before flying off to Qatar and the World Cup in two months.
But any director will tell you, it’s not easy to rehearse a play with twelve absent actors, including several headliners (Karim Benzema, Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kanté, Presnel Kimpembe or even the Hernández brothers). Fortunately, Kylian Mbappé did not have a word from the doctor to excuse himself. When he is not busy redefining the legal contours of image rights in the national team and sorting out among the members of the French Football Federation those who are compatible or not with his values and his image, the Parisian also knows how to change the course of a play.
In his own way and in a jiffy, at 56me minute. A pass from Olivier Giroud, an acceleration between four Austrians turned into a stake, as in his beloved Schladming slalom, and an unstoppable shot (1-0) to finish off the job. Joy and relief. Before this flash, the Blues seemed like a team that wasn’t quite a team. Logical, when half of its starters are missing and you have to shake hands with two newcomers, the Monegasques Benoît Badiashile and Youssouf Fofana, quite comfortable elsewhere.
“Almost impossible to defend” against Mbappé
Once again dressed in their coach’s 3-5-2, the French alternated between good intentions, inaccuracies and wasted opportunities against the Austrians who did not decide to stick their noses out of their midfield too much. The world champions also continue to abuse their injury package. To the starting twelve before the game, defender Jules Koundé (hamstring) and goalkeeper Mike Maignan (calf) are added in the first half, still technically unemployed.
At the restart, the Austrians were kind enough to finally discover themselves with a thread and offer spaces to a French team, more comfortable on a four-lane motorway. After all, we did not reconcile. Especially with an asset like Kylian Mbappé up his sleeve. We must listen and translate from the German the words of Ralf Rangnick. ” If Mbappé had played us tonight, the match might not have been the same. But unfortunately, we don’t have Kylian Mbappe. »
The Austrian coach not only pushes open a door to the Stade de France auditorium, but also translates the impotence and concern of the opponents (” on a good day, it’s almost impossible to defend against him,” even the Austrian captain David Alaba confesses) in the face of the threat posed by the Paris-Saint-Germain striker.
If we associate him with a probable future Ballon d’Or (Karim Benzema), we have a few arguments to debate and even counteract the decline of the moment, convinced of a rapid and inevitable fall of the blue house of Qatar. A victory does not erase everything, but it helps to see the glass as half full again.
In fact, it puts an end to a streak of four games without winning, it slightly removes the specter of a possible relegation to the B League of Nations (which will be confirmed against Denmark on Sunday) that basically is nothing more than an adventure sports today. context (Pogba case, ministerial audit in the federation). Didier Deschamps admitted it last week, he already has “known most peaceful climate”.
Giroud two goals off Henry’s record
This Thursday, the coach only spoke about football, which “prefer”. Except perhaps when it comes to mentioning the Olivier Giroud case. During the week, the 35-year-old striker vowed in an interview with M6 to be ready to polish off the bench in Qatari stadiums, ventilated and happy to serve France as a mere substitute. But when he starts, even now with Benzema absent, the AC Milan player scores. In the Giroud. Resumption of a header full of power and determination on a cross from Antoine Griezmann (65me) to come within two units of Thierry Henry’s French national team goalscoring record (49).
What relaunches the debate about his presence in the list for the World Cup. On this subject, the sole decision maker decided not to say too much. “He has to keep acting. But don’t interpret what I sayDeschamps warns. Did I say I’d be there or not? No. But he does everything to be there. » And if so, Giroud will have the opportunity to discuss with Kylian Mbappé – with whom he showed a great bond in the game but also in the celebration of this Thursday’s goal – the issue of the convention that governs the right in the collective. image of the blues.
As very often, the Bondynois did not parade to explain themselves to the journalists on this subject. “It’s not me, it’s the whole team that wanted that. I don’t mind putting myself in the spotlight, even if it means being criticized if it’s beneficial for my teammates.”, assured. A controlled and studied output in relation to the realpolitik of the locker room. On Wednesday, Mbappé received strong support, that of Raphaël Varane. Is a “simple, logical and legitimate request”, the vice-captain supported him at a press conference. At 23 years old, Kylian Mbappé is going so fast on the pitch as to take on responsibilities away from it, both at PSG and the France national team. Dizzy.