With these two, the France team can travel serenely. Tuesday night against Germany (1-0), Raphaël Varane and Presnel Kimpembe signed a sensational entry into the competition. Faced with the Mannschaft of Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry or Kai Havertz, the two tricolor axials pulled out their teeth, showing that they would not agree to let themselves be trodden on. The Varane-Kimpembe duo is gaining consistency since the masterclass carried out together against Portugal (1-0) by Cristiano Ronaldo on November 14, 2020.
Since then, there is no more debate on who should accompany Varane. At the Allianz Arena in Munich, the Madrilenian has formed with Kimpembe a wall which, at this level of demand and concentration, is almost impassable. “They are not novices, recalls Didier Deschamps. They are very efficient, complementary, with automatic mechanisms. “They have only started 14 games together, the first at the 2018 World Cup against Denmark (0-0), but between them, it’s a business that rolls.
“Kimpembe brings almost animal strength”
“With Presnel, we have complementary qualities. We talk a lot, whether it’s before the game, at half-time or on the pitch. We talk a lot about who is marking or covering. The more we play together, the more automatic we have, ”explains Raphaël Varane. Their complementarity is effectively no longer to be proven. It recalls the one that existed between Laurent Blanc and Marcel Desailly during the 1998 World Cup, as well as the Varane-Umiti association in 2018.
Presnel Kimpembe may be experiencing his first major international competition as a starter, but his progress in recent months has taken him to another area in selection. It denotes with that of its competitors, like Clément Lenglet who nevertheless had his chance. Jean-Louis Garcia, former coach of Troyes and Nancy, explains that Kimpembe “brings almost animal strength to the presence, to the impact, while being an excellent footballer”. “This hinge has a big future,” he continues. Especially since we found a very high level Varane. “
Their connection is obvious
The Madrilenian is not coming out of an easy season. With Real Madrid, he experienced a few air holes, in the absence of Sergio Ramos in particular. But by his experience and his incredible ability to read the game, he is like the Marquinhos of PSG for “Presko”. “For me Raph and Marqui are two profiles that come together. They are two leaders, two extremely intelligent players. Evolving with one or the other is a bit the same thing, ”described Presnel Kimpembe a few days ago during a press briefing organized before the start of the competition.
Off the field, Varane and Kimpembe are not the most accomplices, but that does not prevent them from sharing certain points in common, in particular their vision of the defender position. “We could say that they do not know each other that much, but the fact that Kimpembe (18 caps) has been in the France team for several years helps a lot, says a close to the locker room. They have the same point of view on how to defend well. Raphaël saw Presnel arrive in blue, he saw him grow up, and even though they haven’t played a lot of matches together, they know each other very well from training. “
“Two players with great confidence”
Tuesday evening, it is “two players in great confidence” that Jean-Louis Garcia saw on the field. “I want to prove it one or two well managed deep balls. They had a great reading of the German game. The only time they got scared was on a dangerous raise from Kimpembe, but defensively, the demarcation, the distance to the full-backs, it was very serious… They faced a team with three attackers including two re-entrant eccentric, which freed the corridors for Kimmich and Gosens. It had to be well coordinated and they did it perfectly well. “
“It’s a good omen,” assures the technician, even if another scenario should wait for the Blues on Saturday (3 pm) against the Hungarians in Budapest. “Football is all about balance,” Garcia concludes. You can have the biggest attacking potential in the world, but if you attack anyhow… there is a great balance in this France team. And Varane and Kimpembe are no strangers to it.