Spain – France – Veni, vidi, vici: Les Bleus by Didier Deschamps and the renewed taste for conquest

In September, after two dishonorable draws, Didier Deschamps undoubtedly experienced his biggest managerial blow since 2014. France awaited a reaction but the return offered the result of a Euro completely missed and completed much earlier than expected. Was he still the man for the job? What if this French team had seen themselves too beautiful? Riddled with doubts, it was thought, these Blues were no more than the pale copy of the world champions conquering Russia. The problem with guys of this caliber is that the findings are fragile.

The truth of June is no longer that of October. Even more astounding, that of the 50th minute is no longer even that of the 80th. It is a question of character and pride. Talented too, of course. The thin justifications of the coach (“we were 3-1 in the 80th against Switzerland“, he proclaimed in L’Equipe for its media return) and the idea that the Euro was just an accident have much more meaning today.

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When she gets in working order she is really scary

From Turin to Milan, the impression spread that the Blues could pretty much do what they wanted when they wanted. Veni, vidi, vici : they came, they saw, they conquered. Belgium and Spain thought they had destroyed them. But when Pogba and his pals decided to wake up, no one resisted them. Just read the headlines of an Italian press dumbfounded by what happened before his eyes. “When she gets in working order she is really scary“,”a team of phenomena“, could we read this Monday in the press of the European champions.”Fenomeno“was also the word most often used by our Spanish colleagues in the passageways of San Siro and it was not always aimed at Gavi.

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If the recipe for this rebirth had to be established, it could be summed up in three words: talent, pride and character. This team has changed its personality under the effect of the return of Karim Benzema, the retirement of Blaise Matuidi, the absence of N’Golo Kanté and the sidelining of Olivier Giroud. She is no longer in control as she was able to face Belgium in the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup. That is why she has suffered so much this week. But the virtuosity of his cracks is more than ever enough for him to get out of trouble.

Rarely have such a devastating French team seen

We have rarely seen a France team so devastating against big names as during the last moments of France – Belgium or France – Spain. The collective pressing, the ball exits of Pogba, the sense of goal and the rest of Benzema, the speed of Mbappé: when everything is put end to end, France is unplayable. However, its room for improvement remains real. In particular, for the front three who have never been good together. This month of October lets imagine the power of this trio when it rolls together. Who will then be able to resist the Blues? Let’s say it frankly today, no one.

Especially since it has found a system that highlights its strengths (its offensive talent) even if it does not alleviate its weaknesses (a defense that is still as fragile). This double poster also allowed new options to emerge, young people with very high potential who finally constitute a credible recourse to the heroes of Russia (Théo Hernandez, Aurélien Tchouaméni or even Jules Koundé, well in his sneakers).

Aurélien Tchouameni (France) after the victory against Belgium

Credit: Getty Images

Their enemy? Comfort

There remains a sneaky enemy, the one who cost him the Euro and who has not yet disappeared from the horizon. The France team does not like comfort. It must be jostled to awaken the ardor of the champions who compose it. This was the case against Hungary, Portugal, Switzerland, Bosnia, Ukraine, and even more caricaturally against the Belgians and the Spaniards. Seven times, in her last eight outings, she has conceded the opener. And basically, in important matches, she has only once been able to lower her guard. At the end of the match which seemed folded to 3-1, against Switzerland. We know the rest.

“The Blues don’t like comfort, they need to be pushed around”

One year away from Qatar, this is Deschamps’ fight. As such, this League of Nations serves as a springboard as well as a reminder. We can measure the importance of the trophies in the liters of tears spilled on the lawn after a final. All the cheeks were dry on Sunday, in the victors as in the vanquished. But this week, it was not about glory, trophy, history but reconquest and rebirth. Mission accomplished, for the rest, we will have to wait 14 months. Didier Deschamps can once again sleep peacefully.

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