- The Blues have been entitled to two training sessions since their arrival at Clairefontaine on Wednesday.
- We have selected six little stories for you that will set the tone for the atmosphere (and the game) in the France at Euro group.
You might not know it, but for followers of The french team, there will be two very distinct periods during this Euro 2021. The first, funky, the preparation phase, with a face-to-face press conference at Clairefontaine and training open to the press.
The second version Covid-19, with videoconferencing imposed throughout the competition and more than limited access to players. So we decided to live this first act as if we were going to die tomorrow. There is therefore no question of missing the slightest crumb of what is being said and done in the immense domain of Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines which, by the way, smelled of freshly cut grass on Friday afternoon. After three days at the castle and two on the grounds, here is a first inventory of the morale of the troops.
A war machine (on paper)
In the conference room, Kingsley Coman proclaimed it: France has “the best team in the world”. We will allow ourselves all the same to add “on paper”, so as not to titillate too much karma, Portugal, all that, all that. Nevertheless, the Bavarian is right. The strength of the France team has little equivalent in Europe at the moment and you would have to be crazy not to dream of a new coronation this summer. In the press gallery in any case, it ignites after a triple one-two of the space between Grizou and Benzema, “It’s good, we are European champions!” “. Calm down …
Benzema finds its marks
Impossible not to stop for a moment on the attraction of this beginning of preparation. See Karim Benzema treading the lawns of Clairefontaine again with the tracksuit for the Blues is something we would never have thought possible. And yet we pinched and he was still there. Thursday, the Madrilenian appeared very comfortable in the game based on the ball conservation workshops. He almost naturally took the lead of his team, surrounded by Griezmann and Dembélé. We were thus able to witness combinations full of love between Benzema and Griezmann, auguring some good times in front of the TV this summer. In the attitude, however, the Benz appeared less expressive, more composed, than its fellow attackers. Serious, diligent, the boy is on a mission, please do not disturb.
Griezmann, king of chambering
GriezmannIs at home in Clairefontaine, it is the house, the cocoon. The Barcelona player has appeared at his peak since his arrival on Wednesday, visibly well recovered from the loss of the title with Barça. Ambianceur number one of the France team, the French striker does not miss an opportunity to room his buddy Dembouz. “Oh Timo Werner! “He swings after a monumental crack against goal, in reference to the Chelsea striker who would miss an elephant in a voting booth lately. The group is living well.
If the atmosphere has been like the weather for two days, royal, the Blues are nonetheless studious during the oppositions 10 against 10 on a quarter of the field. When it comes to a duel, little restraint so far, as on this violent Kimpembe sole – the “classic Presko” in the jargon – on Marcus Thuram. The next day, it is the turn of the former Guingampais to stroke Mbappé’s ankles. No sores on arrival, but this kind of scene says a lot about the level of commitment put by the players from the start of this (short) preparation phase. The famous “competition mode” that DD was talking about earlier this week.
Tolisso-Rabiot, y’a match ?
The cruciate ligaments in September 2018, the ankle in April 2020 and a rupture of a hamstring tendon in February with operation to the key: scoumoune questions, Corentin Tolisso does not fear anyone. Yet here he is in the group for the Euro, just two weeks after his return to the field, the reward of a big recovery work carried out upstream in Munich. Impeccable in all his interventions, very clean technically, the former Lyonnais showed himself perfectly willing to come and titillate the spirit of Deschamps. This obviously did not escape Adrien Rabiot, who we found much more concerned on Friday than the day before.
Koundé plays his card to the fullest
He warned at a press conference on Friday: being in the 26 is absolutely not an end in itself for him. “Very ambitious” as he described himself in the Clairefontaine auditorium, Jules Koundé showed that he was not there to joke. The former Bordeaux player was intractable in his defensive interventions in training on Friday, like his mammoth season with Sevilla FC. “The breath in the attacker’s neck and the crampons on his heels”, Guy Roux would say. Not better.