Monday’s tackle – Yes, France is a real football country!

CHRONIC. With our results in this 2022 World Cup and our inexhaustible pool, France is one of the giants of football.

By Adrian Mathieu

Didier Deschamps was able to bounce the Blues after the failure of the last Euro.
Didier Deschamps was able to bounce back the Blues after the failure of the last Euro.

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NOTWe may not have invented this sport like the English, we probably don’t have the fervor of the Argentines, we don’t have the tactical culture of the Italians, we don’t have five stars like Brazil or even the atmosphere of German stadiums, but undeniably today, the world of football envies us for our results. Of the last seven World Cups played for 24 years, France is in the semi-finals for the fourth time.

An admirable record which is accentuated by the two victories in the World Cup (1998 and 2018), but also with the success at Euro 2000. And what is even more surprising with this French team is its formidable ability to bounce back: how many selections would have experienced a long desert crossing after the Knysna disaster in 2010? After the takeover of Laurent Blanc then that accentuated by Didier Deschamps, the Blues have again become a success machine.

We inevitably think of other generations of supporters of the Blues: those who lived through the very dark period of the 1970s, the drama of Seville against the FRG in 1982 or the stabbing of Kostadinov in 1993. The youngest see today Mbappé make them dream when their parents and grandparents were relieved to simply see France qualify for a big competition…

However, Hugo Lloris and his family also experienced their own hiccups, like their journey during the last Euro. The disappointment against Switzerland and the elimination in the round of 16 represented a real earthquake. Was Didier Deschamps still the man for the job? Didn’t we see ourselves too beautiful with our fantastic Benzema-Mbappé-Griezmann trio? Was France outdated, compared to the collective demonstration of Italy?

A unique winning culture

Faced with all these questions, Didier Deschamps experimented with a new system, launched new players and ended up going back to basics at the dawn of this World Cup in Qatar. However, the cascade of injuries upstream of this World Cup was chilling: Benzema, Nkunku, Pogba, Kanté, Maignan or even Kimpembe. How many selections could have recovered from such an equivalence of packages? If defensive rigor, domination by possession or even the beautiful game are not the hallmarks of this team in 2022, no one can dispute our culture of winning.

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And beyond the victories, we can say it: this team has the mouth. From the prodigy Kylian Mbappé who paralyzes dozens of defenders to Antoine Griezmann who reinvents himself in a brilliant role of remote playmaker, passing by the veteran Olivier Giroud who will seek the historic record of Thierry Henry and Hugo Lloris formidable last bastion, these Blues have the pace and hold their rank of reigning world champions.

So yes, we still have a lot of aspects to improve for our football culture in France. We can criticize the accessibility of television broadcasting of matches on television, an often retrograde federation, the early departure of our young talents, the consideration of supporters or even regularly disappointing results in the European Cup. Didier Deschamps’ team is undeniably showing the way: it is high time that all players in French football take this virtuous path.

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