N’Golo Kanté, a very discreet hero – Libération

N’Golo Kanté, a very discreet hero – Libération

Euro Football 2024 file This Tuesday, the Blues will face Poland at the end of a third group match without stakes, in a competition where, despite their offensive ineffectiveness, the team has found its brilliant midfield.

On the eve of meeting the Polish selection on Tuesday June 24 at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund for a very relative issue (qualification for the eighth is already almost in the bag) and while the French offensive impotence is being talked about, the Blues staff had need to tell a story. Ecumenical preferably: midfielder N’Golo Kanté (33) presented himself at a press conference.

A shame for this discreet man, careful since 2016 and his debut with the Blues to keep away from the microphones and the media fury surrounding the game. Already twice elected “man of the match” by UEFA after Austria (1 -0) and the Netherlands (0-0), he was forced to appear in front of journalists after each of these meetings, carrying out an already minimal exercise – three questions, not one more – in complete neutrality. In short, followers of the blue train have the impression of coming across it often.

“To stay together”

Without knowing more about the resurrection of a player who went into exile in Saudi Arabia (the Al-Ittihad club) as we leave high-level football and the infernal pace of the English Premier League to return to the end of a year fresh as dew, unchanged in his slaughter (more than 12 kilometers per match) and more daring with the ball than ever. The praise? “No, you shouldn’t listen too much. It’s tasty all the same, finding the Blues too, having the support of the supporters but… we have to stay in the work, stay together. A possible leadership role, since he is now the third oldest in the France group after Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann? “No. Things happen naturally. Sometimes you just learn by playing with others. It is on the ground that things are transmitted most easily.” His short hooks chained on the right side against Austria while he absolutely never dribbles, which had stunned Antoine Griezmann? “No, they [ses coéquipiers] didn’t tell me anything. It was the game situation that led me to do that.”

In short: Kanté is the man who says “no”. Succeeding him on the stage, his coach, Didier Deschamps, managed to be even less talkative. It needs to be done. His “no” was “you will see”. We will see who plays tomorrow, we will see if Griezmann is sidelined or rested (depending on interpretations) as the Team has suggested, we will also see if he fields a mixed team – substitutes, but not too many – against the Poland where if he attacks full force with his starters from the first two matches… He was also not going to give tactical instructions to his Polish counterpart, Michal Probierz, who will pack his bags tomorrow evening since his selection is eliminated. On the downside, however, we felt that the Blues had a strange match to play on Tuesday against opponents who were both disappointed and liberated, of no accounting importance but which could cause damage to already congested heads, if for example the offensive sterility continued. .

Eternity

The Blues will, however, have six (if they finish second) or seven days (if they finish at the top of their group) off between Poland and their round of 16 match. An eternity on the scale of a final phase, where all the teams have just played three matches in eight days. In fact, a new tournament awaits them next week. The Poles remain on Tuesday.

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