Soccer. France-Croatia in the League of Nations: the match in question
Mistreated in this group A of the League of Nations, since it occupies the last place, the French team must finally win against Croatia at the Stade de France. We will also keep an eye on the system and the players chosen to animate it.
Find the taste of victory
It stains. Seeing the world champions bring up the rear in Group A of the League of Nations is rather unexpected. During this month of June, they were unable to exploit their potential over time due in particular to a rotation that was as wide as it was constrained. Result, they did not win any of their three matches. A series that is a rarity under the Deschamps era. Only between March and September 2013 and June and September 2021 (5), the French team faced a longer shortage.
Against Croatia, victory is essential to continue to believe in a possible qualification for the “Final four” which will also depend on a misstep from the Danish leader. “We are the defending champion, this competition is important to us, certifies captain Presnel Kimpembe. We are aware that the France team is not in its place. We are aware of what is at stake. »
Clauss’ last chance?
He is the outfield player with the most limited playing time. Jonathan Clauss is, moreover, the only one not to have been established since the June rally with third goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. Coming into the game late against Denmark, he had a few extra minutes in Split.
Unfortunately for him, he is at the end of the chain on the action which leads to the Croatian penalty. His first shadow in the selection when the beautiful story had moved during his first call in June. If he were to start, the Alsatian will have no room for error if he wants to stay in the race for the World Cup in Qatar. If he remains a substitute, the message sent by Didier Deschamps, who again swings between a three-man defense – which highlights Clauss’s role as a piston – and a four-man, would be quite clear.
23: France have scored in their last 23 games (51 goals in total) which confirms their almost unrivaled attacking potential. The last time she remained silent was on November 11, 2020 against Finland in a friendly at the Stade de France (0-2).
“He has the qualities of a piston. In absolute terms, he could play four. It is an offensive that has retreated. He can do it, but it would put him in difficulty if it’s not where he feels best, says Didier Deschamps. If we have the ball, there’s no problem, if we don’t have it, in a four-man defense, defensively, it’s not the same effort. »
Fatigue to manage
Within 24 hours of the holidays, organizations are tested. While three players have already left the rally – Varane, Kanté and Lucas Hernandez – six others trained separately (Théo Hernandez, Diaby, Saliba, Konaté, Benzema and Kamara) during the match watch session.
Obviously, fatigue forces Didier Deschamps to partially review his plans: “I’m going with it. There is accumulated fatigue, for others a bit of decompression, glitches have been added… My colleagues are also called upon to manage these situations. I’m not going to complain even if the coaches should all be complaining with four games in this period… But the objective is this victory tomorrow. »
On the Croatian side, Zlatko Dalic will also rotate in his starting team but wants to keep « the same commitment and the same aggressiveness » that led his men to victory in Denmark.
Which system to finish?
How will the Blues play? This is a question that we would not have thought to ask at the start of the rally when Didier Deschamps then Guy Stéphan had explained that the system with three defenders required repetition. The rotation of the workforce and certain constraints have reshuffled the cards with the return in force of the four-man defense against Croatia and Austria. So what about the latter?
« I haven’t changed my mind, » insists DD. There are different options. I left with this idea of putting the eleven who start in the best possible conditions. There are different options, they existed before. It’s not because we haven’t played three in the last two games that it’s thrown in the trash. You can’t be on just one system. At some point, it may come out… or not. It’s interesting in the sense that we are less predictable for the opponent. »