France coach Didier Deschamps is not a concern. It’s not part of his personality. He is a practical and positive guy, always trying to look on the bright side of things. However, he must be wondering: what is going on now?
Two months before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where his team will try to become the first champion to retain their title since Brazil in 1962, France is going through an unprecedented turmoil. Even when judging the history of French football, which has seen so many tasteless stories in the past, this is unprecedented. Everything that can go wrong now is going wrong, and there are many sources of disruption going on at the same time.
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First of all, there is the atmosphere around the team. On Monday, Kylian Mbappe continued his fight against the French Football Federation (FFF) over the image rights agreement for players. The French Football Federation (and its president, Noel Le Graet) first said in June that it would amend the agreement under pressure from Mbappe, who had already complained about it in March, but nothing was done. So Mbappe announced on Monday that he was refusing to take part in Tuesday’s activities and take pictures with the national team sponsors.
The panic was so intense that an emergency meeting was called between Le Graet, Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Hugo Lloris and Deschamps, and a solution to the image rights was found. The Agreement will be reviewed and amended to give players more leverage and compensation. But while Mbappe won his battle with Al Ittihad, with the support of the team leaders, he exposed cracks inside the Blue House.
Lou Grit, whose relationship with Deschamps is very strong, is also at the center of the storm. Media reports in France have accused him of sending inappropriate text messages to female FFF employees and of covering up or failing to act upon numerous incidents in French football over the past several years.
Le Graet, who is 80 and still has two years to go in his role as president of the federation, refuses to step down, but the tension surrounding him is indirectly rising around Deschamps and his players. The coach summed it up last week: “It’s heavy.”
The past few weeks have also seen stories about Paul Pogba appear in the media. The Juventus midfielder is currently under police protection in Italy after it was recently revealed that a group of his childhood friends were trying to extort money from him. His brother, Matthias, is being held in prison and awaits a decision to release him on bail along with four other men – all known to Paul Pogba – after they are accused of extortion.
Pogba comes out with a meniscus tear, but the accident had a negative impact on him and the France team. His teammates are concerned and Deschamps hopes the No.6 will be able to bounce back from his knee injury in time to be fit for the World Cup, but also be able to overcome the shock of alleged threats and intimidation. . Nobody knows what kind of Pogba will return to Deschamps and France.
There are also a lot of minor injuries piling up inside the heart of the team expected to compete in Qatar. Deschamps could play a full team with the currently absent players, and what a team: Lloris in goal; Ibrahima Konate, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe and Teo Hernandez in defence; midfield from Pogba, Boubacar Camara, N’Golo Kante and Adrien Rabiot; With Karim Benzema and Kingsley Coman in the lead. There will also be submarines.
At least six of those players – Lloris, the Hernandez brothers, Kante, Pogba and Benzema – are in Deschamps’ strongest squad. Not all of them have come out of long-running problems, but their absence is a huge blow considering France’s upcoming UEFA Nations League matches – against Austria on Thursday and in Denmark on Sunday – are the last two matches before they begin their World Cup campaign. against Australia on November 22.
It was a nightmare for the France coach, who has not seen his players since the last international break in June, when his father died unexpectedly, and glaucoma It was terrible in his absence. (They lost to Denmark and Croatia at home, and drew with Austria and Croatia.) France is last in Group A of the Nations League with two points from four matches and cannot face the humiliation of relegation.
The remaining squad is still elite, of course, with the likes of Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Aurelien Chwamini, Jules Conde and Varane training. France also boasts an impressive depth, with players at their best such as William Saliba, Mike Minnen and Olivier Giroud, as well as promising young talents such as Randall Kolo Mwani, Youssef Fofana and Benoit Badiachel, who have been called up for the first time.
However, even among the players assembled at Clairefontaine, there are concerns, whether they are about fitness (like Antoine Griezmann being stuck playing under 30 minutes per game at Atletico Madrid) or confidence (Christopher Nkunko struggling to find shape with RB Leipzig). Things are tough for Deschamps and France at the moment, but as the manager told his players on Monday: The only way out is to get out.
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