Against Chile, the Blues return to success without really dispelling doubts

Although a match may be friendly and against a relatively modest opponent on paper, it is not necessarily devoid of issues

Against Chile, the Blues return to success without really dispelling doubts

Although a match may be friendly and against a relatively modest opponent on paper, it is not necessarily devoid of issues. The French football team can attest to this. Tuesday March 26, the Blues faced Chile, at the Stade-Vélodrome in Marseille, for their second preparation match for the Euro. At the final whistle, they were able to breathe a sigh of relief and treat themselves to a little extra time by coming to greet their supporters. On the scoreboard: 3-2 in their favor.

The duel against the 42nd nation in the ranking of the international federation (FIFA) could have been a fairly ordinary meeting, one which especially allows the "doubles" to gain a little light before the announcement, in the middle of May, from the list of twenty-three players who will be on the adventure for the continental championship in Germany (June 14-July 14). This was without counting on the dry defeat conceded, four days earlier, against the Mannschaft (0-2).

Coué method or not, the thesis of the accident - a famous "evening without", to use the expression of goalkeeper Brice Samba - was favored to explain the rout at Décines-Charpieu (Rhône). Friday, the Tricolores were picked off from the start of the match. During the game, they were dominated on all levels: strategic, technical and physical. Three months before an international competition in which the world vice-champions are the favorites, the affair has caused chaos.

This Tuesday ? With a largely reshuffled team – nine changes made by Didier Deschamps to the starting lineup – we came close to an encore. Slow start, inability to keep the ball. And this goal conceded just a few minutes after the kick-off, from a cross strike from Marcelino Nunez (0-1, 6th). Enough to complete the black series, the right side of Olympique de Marseille, Jonathan Clauss, injured in the hamstring, left a little later (10th) due to injury. Then, before the break (43rd), Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga in turn left the pitch prematurely, after a shock to his left ankle.

“We are on the right track”

The fact remains that this evening, failing to erase doubts, the French found their way to victory. And they owe it in particular to two men: Youssouf Fofana and Randal Kolo Muani. The first had the merit of waking up a sparse and amorphous Stade-Vélodrome – except when it came to whistling the star striker of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Kylian Mbappé – by allowing his team to return to the mark (1-1, 18th). The Monegasque confirms his rise in power with his third goal in Blue; goals all scored in the last four matches. “If I scored points for the Euro? Every match is important. I think of the collective. So much the better if I'm on the ground. Everyone put out a great score this evening,” he said.

It was then the second who found the net with a header (2-1, 25th). “The coach gave me my chance, today it worked out for me and I am very proud of it (…) I am gaining confidence day by day, we will continue like this and it will be perfect for the 'future. We are on the right track,” responded Randal Kolo Muani. His great performance was even praised by Didier Deschamps at a press conference: “Congratulations to Kolo, I’m happy for him. He did everything right. He has the potential. »

At the start of the action leading to the first goal, author of the second, the PSG striker also offered the third to Olivier Giroud – his 57th in the jersey of the national selection – with a superb overflow (3-1, 72nd). Not enough, however, to calm the enthusiasm of the Chileans, who will reduce the gap thanks to Dario Osorio (3-2, 82nd).

Need to find freshness

“I’m not going to jump to the ceiling tonight,” insisted the coach. It's good that we won this match after having started badly. Scoring three goals is always good even if we concede two more tonight. » In seven matches, his troops have only managed to keep a clean sheet once, against the modest formation of Gibraltar (14-0) in November 2023. What should alarm the Blues? “No, but as a defender, it annoys me,” conceded Ibrahima Konaté, associated with William Saliba in the hinge.

When it comes time to take stock, Didier Deschamps recognizes that this March gathering was “more difficult than the previous ones”. Above all, he knows that his men will have to “do a lot more” if they want to shine at the Euro. But the coach has a ready explanation for these mixed performances: “It is linked to the level of form which is not optimal (…) The capacity we have, the will we have, it will be necessary also have freshness and there, it was not at its maximum. »

This page now turned, the coach will now set about refining his list for the continental competition, the last tickets for which were allocated on Tuesday evening. Defeated Wales (0-0, 5-4 on penalties) in the play-off final, Poland joins France, the Netherlands and Austria in Group D.

There are two preparation matches left for the Blues, June 5 in Metz and June 9 in Bordeaux – for which the posters are still to be determined – before their debut at the Euro, on June 17 in Düsseldorf, against the Austrian selection. Hoping to continue their journey as far as possible, to Berlin.