Didier Deschamps unveils this Thursday, in an eventful context, his group to start qualifying for Euro 2024.
Met last Friday in the south of France, his place of residence, Didier Deschamps, tanned complexion and slender figure from the top of his 54 years, has only one obsession in mind: to start a new adventure with his Blues. And again talking about football, pitch, choice of players. “I can’t wait to find the French public and I’m attacking this new hungry sequence “, he admitted to us after having mentioned in our columns the World Cup final lost against Argentina, the resignation of Noël Le Graët, the future captaincy or even the case of Karim Benzema. On this last point, highly controversial, with a Ballon d’Or 2022 which described the coach as “liar“about his injury and the conditions of his departure from the Blues group in Qatar,” DD » is expected this Thursday in Paris when the list of players selected for the start of qualifying for Euro 2024, scheduled in Germany (June 14-July 14), is announced.
But the now reigning vice-world champion does not intend to have the subjects of conversation dictated to him and wishes, despite the ambient context, to discuss the present and the future of the France team. Benzema, who retired from international football like others this winter (Lloris, Mandanda, Varane), already belonging to the past, “ DD wishes to project itself on the two spring meetings on the program (reception of the Netherlands on March 24, trip to Ireland on March 27). Less than three months after the World Cup, a new era is dawning for Les Bleus. State of play.
Surfing the World Cup in Qatar
A selection does not emerge unscathed from the disappearance of internationals of the caliber of Hugo Lloris (36 years old, 145 selections), Raphaël Varane (29 years old, 93 selections), Steve Mandanda (37 years old, 35 selections) and Karim Benzema (35 years, 97 selections), but, for all that, Didier Deschamps prefers to be positive. Like always. “I’m not afraid of emptiness, other players will take the place“, he plants sure of his fact, without minimizing the importance of these executives. This Thursday, when calling out the names of the elements expected at Clairefontaine on Monday for the start of the school year, the coach will count on a new hard core, with the presence of Mike Maignan in goal, but also leaders such as the Mbappé, Griezmann or Giroud, without forgetting the safe bets (Konaté, Upamecano, Koundé, T. Hernandez, Tchouaméni, Rabiot, Coman), interviews in Qatar, or other elements that have not been unworthy (Camavinga, Kolo Muani, Saliba, Fofana). “They were present at the World Cup, it’s up to them to confirm and take on even more insurance“, warns the Basque, extended until 2026.
The “closetized” Pavard, the Camavinga innovation
Sidelined in Qatar with only one tenure on the clock, Benjamin Pavard (26, 47 caps), excellent with Bayern Munich, most often in a central position, should be recalled. “Benjamin is not condemned, nobody is, advanced Deschamps to Figaro last Friday. He often plays in a defense with three, but also with four, I know what he prefers, but I also know what I prefer.” Implied, to see him at the post of right side. “I have known players who have spent their entire international career in a position that was not theirs», Argues the one who has been coach of the Blues since 2012, in reference to Lilian Thuram, central defender by training and mythical right side of the coronation of 1998. It is up to the native of Maubeuge to realize, in view of the colossal competition in central defense, that its versatility is above all an asset, certainly not a disadvantage. On this subject, a symbol emerges, with the expected summons of Eduardo Camavinga (20 years old, 6 caps), except for a glitch on Wednesday evening in the Champions League against Liverpool, in the position… of left side. A training midfielder, the Madrid player won over the staff with his mentality and his qualities in the corridor, especially during the final against the Argentines. And Carlo Ancelotti also uses it from time to time in this function. With the absence of Lucas Hernandez, Deschamps wants to try the experiment again with regard to the specialists of the candidate post (Digne, F. Mendy, Truffert…).
Newbies are knocking at the door
Who says new era for the Blues, also says new faces. Several neophytes with different backgrounds are likely to appear in the list. At the goalkeeper position, with the departure of Lloris and Mandanda, two places are free. Mike Maignan (27, 7 caps), back from injury in Milan, will start. Behind, Brice Samba (28 years old, Lens) and Alban Lafont (24 years old, Nantes) are in the fight for the other jump seat, with a small head start for the Northerner, knowing that Alphonse Areola, for his experience and his knowledge of the group, did not disappoint in number 3. In central defense, Wesley Fofana (22 years old, Chelsea), very appreciated, would leave in front of Jean-Clair Todibo (23 years old, Nice), while in the middle, with the absences of Paul Pogba (injured three weeks), N’Golo Kanté (recovery) and Boubacar Kamara (forfeit), the young Kephren Thuram (21 years old, Nice, son of Lilian and brother of Marcus, present in Qatar) and Manu Koné (21 years old, Borussia Mönchengladbach) appeal to the staff of the Blues. These two elements appear in particular on the shelves of Paris SG for the next summer transfer window… In attack, behind Mbappé, Griezmann, Giroud, Kolo Muani or even Coman (Dembélé is injured), difficult to make their way. Moussa Diaby (23, Bayer Leverkusen, 8 caps), who already knows the house a little, could take advantage of it. Answer this Thursday at 2 p.m.