After Ukraine, Portugal, Croatia … the Blues have human resources

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Two successes, a draw, a first place to go for November 14: the results of the tricolor rally have tipped on the good side after the victory Wednesday in Zagreb (2-1). This Thursday, Didier Deschamps can quietly celebrate his 52 years among his family, with the conviction that his choices continue to pay off.

With the sequence of three meetings in one week (Ukraine, Portugal, Croatia), the national coach has been able and had to concern many players. Last-minute annoyances even led him to proceed with a wider range, like the package of N’Golo Kanté, preserved in Zagreb due to muscle pain.

Mike Maignan was even able to celebrate his first selection in A against Ukraine (7-1). In Croatia, Nzonzi in a low point of 4-4-2 in diamond shape had a second start in three outings. Despite a big hollow in the second half of the whole troop, the Blues, whatever the men, keep alive the state of mind of the world champions. The competition is there, from Clément Lenglet to Ferland Mendy, from Corentin Tolisso to Anthony Martial.

Everything is far from perfect but the France team is showing its resources and its strengths where other top names like Spain, Germany or England are skating. There is a permanent life among the Blues, with a common thread: the refusal of defeat, a form of solidity (two goals conceded in 270 minutes) and this intact thirst to frequent the summits.

Rabiot and Digne, natural candidates

No doubt that Lucas Hernandez, world champion, keeps a lead in the mind of the coach. He defends well, the first quality of a side in the eyes of the boss tricolor. But Lucas Digne, very prominent and against Ukraine and Croatia, with an assist for Kylian Mbappé on this wonderful goal with three touches, offers a more than credible alternative. In selection, he rarely passes through. His happiness to evolve at Everton is exported to the France team and he seems at 27 years old to reach a form of fullness, mental and technical.

Another former Parisian seems to be settling in or at least giving himself the chance to last while Blaise Matuidi moves away from the blue matrix: Adrien Rabiot has just experienced two tenures in a row with a new ease of adaptation, given his past in A. His above-average technique fluidifies the traffic in the midfield and he advances with a pleasing combativeness, no doubt hardened by his Italian games with Juventus Turin. In Zagreb, he dominated this sector with an activity and a volume that have served the Blues. He got ahead of the competition to complete the eleven if ever Deschamps retains this diamond system where Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté would populate the midfield.

Griezmann – Mbappé, another effort

The two stars of the French attack saved the homeland with one goal each in Croatia. The Barcelona player owes everything to his individual talent. The second is a huge collective action, with a long pass Pogba trigger. Mbappé at the conclusion had understood everything about the movement which was announced. But the two cracks did not release their best outfit against Portugal and the vice-world champion. If the positioning of Griezmann sparked the debate against the partners of Cristiano Ronaldo, because he was too low, Kylian Mbappé did not seem to him as comfortable as usual even if he tormented the Croats in width with delight.

The complementarity of the duo remains an axis of development while Deschamps chose during these three meetings the same pattern of play, a number 10 (first Houssem Aouar) behind two points. At Euro 2021, except injury, Griezmann and Mbappé will be in the shoes of the two holders. Individual talent makes it possible to create major differences, but the world champions will display more danger thanks to their collective association. They still have time to polish it.

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