Football: Germany deprives the French U17 team of a second world title

Twenty-two years later, the French men's under-17 team will not hang a second star on their jersey

Football: Germany deprives the French U17 team of a second world title

Twenty-two years later, the French men's under-17 team will not hang a second star on their jersey. The Bleuets lost on penalties to Germany (2-2, 4-3 on penalties), Saturday December 2, in the final of the U17 Football World Cup. They miss the opportunity to succeed the generation born in 1984, crowned during the 2001 edition, but do better than the one born in 2002, bronze medalist in 2019.

Jean-Luc Vannuchi's players have found their tormentors. Six months earlier to the day, on June 2, they had already fallen on penalties to the same German team in the U17 Euro final (0-0, 5-4 on the tabs). The scenario cruelly repeated itself. Author of two saves during the decisive session, goalkeeper Paul Argney was unable to avoid the misses of his teammates Nhoa Sangui, Bastien Meupiyou and Tidiam Gomis who offered a first world title to their opponents.

“We are still ahead on penalties, it’s the second time in a row,” lamented the French coach at the microphone of the L’Equipe channel. I am extremely disappointed for the group. We deserved better but if we didn’t get it, maybe something was missing. »

“We only played one half out of two.”

Above all, he missed a successful first period. Stifled by German pressure as much as by the hot and humid air of Surakarta (Indonesia), the Bleuets started their match with their backs against the wall. “We only played one half out of two. The first one, I didn’t understand,” regretted Jean-Luc Vannuchi. Paris Brunner opened the scoring from the penalty spot (1-0, 29th) before Noah Darvich thought about sheltering his team at the conclusion of a counter-attack (2-0, 51st).

But only two minutes later, the most dynamic of the Tricolores, Saimon Bouabré, reduced the gap (2-1, 53rd), allowing his teammates to avoid procrastinating for too long. The meeting especially changed after the expulsion of the German Winners Osawe for a second yellow card (69th). In numerical superiority, Mathis Amougou equalized on a perfect cross from Tidiam Gomis (2-2, 85th). The Bleuets then rushed to the opposing goal to try to avoid another penalty shootout, which was always tricky. “It’s the same scenario at the Euro, we have opportunities to kill the match and we don’t do it,” Vannuchi continued. We should have won the game. No matter how much we work [on penalties], it’s difficult. »

This silver medal concludes an almost perfect World Cup for the French team. Winners of their three group stage matches against Burkina Faso (3-0), South Korea (1-0) and the United States (3-0), they successively eliminated Senegal in the round of 16 (0 -0, 5-3 on penalties), Uzbekistan in the quarters (1-0) and Mali (2-1) in the semi-finals.

Not an omen of a brilliant career

However, a run in the U17 World Cup does not bode well for a brilliant career as there are so many uncertainties in transforming potential into real talent. In 2001, the leaders were Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Anthony Le Tallec. The two had flown to Liverpool from their training club Le Havre but never, afterwards, did their careers reach the heights that the world of football predicted for them. In total, of the eighteen champions of the 1984 generation, only five were internationals for the A, including only one with the Blues (Sinama-Pongolle, 1st selection).

Among the bronze medalists in 2019, several play or have played in Ligue 1 (Kouassi, Matsima, Aouchiche, Lepenant, Kalimuendo, Mbuku) without having yet been selected by Didier Deschamps.

The next objective will be to start or continue to grab a few minutes among the professionals like Bastien Meupiyou in Nantes or Mathis Lambourde with Stade Rennes. This 2006 generation will perhaps meet again at the Under-19 Euro in 2025 to continue their collection of medals under the tricolor jersey. Hoping, this time, to overcome the final German obstacle.