Kylian Mbappé, the European footballer with the most athletic and technical conditions, spearhead of the most powerful team in the Eurocup, left the tournament after playing four complete games and finishing three times between the three sticks – including a penalty – without scoring a just goal. If football is the heritage of footballers, not just coaches and managers, France’s failure is particularly reflected in the lack of forcefulness of the nine, who had up to 14 shooting opportunities, did 25 dribbles and lost 62 balls, almost always well assisted by a group of teammates – Pogba, Kanté, Rabiot, Benzema and Griezmann – who did live up to what was expected of they. The elimination in the second round leaves a legacy of confusion in the French Football Federation (FFF) when there is a year and a half left for the defense of the World Cup title in Qatar.
Sources close to the body that governs French football indicate that the premature abandonment of the Eurocup has a positive reading. At least, they say, the difficult coexistence that this staff has experienced over the last month will not last any longer, thus avoiding the risk of an unsolvable conflict. Now the main unknown falls on the identity of the coach who will be in charge of managing the transition. Didier Deschamps has a contract until December 2022, coinciding with the end of the World Cup. But the technician toyed with the idea – never confessed in public – to step aside this summer.
Determined to recruit Zinedine Zidane as a coach as soon as possible, FFF president Noël de Graët was not very enthusiastic about Deschamps’ continuity. “To continue with a mission it is necessary to be on the same page,” he told The team, this Tuesday. “At the moment, since we have not seen each other [con Deschamps], I know nothing. It is necessary that we spend a day together, that we talk, and then we decide ”.
If Zidane takes over the bench, the federation assumes that Benzema will be the first name in the calls. Benzema, who with four goals in four games can claim the moral right to a recall, is the key to the great internal debate. His inclusion to participate in the European Championship without determining his degree of responsibility in the extortion case reported by Valbuena in 2016 – the trial is scheduled for September – puzzled employees and footballers. As one person who works for the FFF noted: “Half of this staff are friends of Valbuena or have friends who are friends of Valbuena, and Valbuena accused Benzema of blackmailing him with a video of sexual content.”
These sources indicate that the sudden presence of Benzema in the dressing room – with stripes as a headline – opened an invisible gap. On the one hand Benzema and Mbappé, united by an instant complicity that some encrypt in their Algerian origin, and on the other the others. Giroud began the rally by publicly complaining that no balls were being passed to him. Mbappé replied to the cameras. Pogba acted as a mediator along with an increasingly moody Griezmann. The month of concentration in a bubble regime exasperated dissent. The 2-2 against Switzerland, scored by Benzema on a pass from Griezmann, discovered the scorer ignoring the assistant in full celebration. Short of professional appearance, the team never got over the tendency to fragment in an oppressive climate. That France only won a game out of four – one win and three draws – and that the victory was due to a goal against Hummels against Germany, suggests that the tactic was the least of the problems that cornered Deschamps.
Often divided in defense between its three attackers and the rest, France soon discarded the idea of putting pressure on the rival’s field and ended up losing tools to carry the weight of the games. Delayed en bloc, the team fought its luck to long transitions, a context that deepened in general physical exhaustion. His longest period of dominance was 25 minutes against Hungary.
Doomed to collective misalignment, France put itself in the hands of its stars. He highlighted the uncertain figure of Mbappé, eager to cover competitions that exceeded his possibilities, such as going down to manage the inside game, or launching fouls and corners. Equipped with a very high waist and long legs that give him running power but hinder his coordination in short explosive gestures, never before had Mbappé fouled in Ligue 1. He made his debut against Switzerland with very poor results and inspired suspicions about the exercise he made of his power. “Mbappé has an inordinate ego. I think Deschamps can’t handle it and it’s troublesome. Is he aware that he doesn’t have the kind of other set pieces? ”Asked Jérôme Rothen, a former PSG player and friend of Deschamps. “With Griezmann and Pogba there is a left-handed and a right-handed. So what is he doing there?
At 22 years old, Kylian Mbappé has been struggling for months to be the nine devastating and profound that made him famous in Monaco. France’s Euro Cup debacle proves that it still hasn’t made it.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.