France-Chile: a French team reshuffled to erase the “reminder” of the German lesson

Three good nights of sleep are sometimes enough to make a Saturday night rout against Germany (0-2) history

France-Chile: a French team reshuffled to erase the “reminder” of the German lesson

Three good nights of sleep are sometimes enough to make a Saturday night rout against Germany (0-2) history. This is the message that Didier Deschamps wanted to convey on Monday at a press conference. According to him, the French coach and his players quickly “switched” to their second preparation match for Euro 2024, Tuesday March 26 (9 p.m.), at the Stade-Vélodrome in Marseille, against Chile.

Three days after this defeat, as embarrassing as it was unexpected after a year 2023 successful in every way, the Blues moved on to something else. The thesis of the accident was carefully argued by those concerned and the word “concern” immediately banned from the demonstration. After all, France's defeats in March 2006 and 2018 did little to prevent them, a few months later, from reaching the World Cup final.

A sign, all the same, that this defeat is not trivial, Kylian Mbappé appeared before the media twice in a row during this gathering. Unheard of since the start of his tenure as captain a year ago. “We have to take responsibility,” explained the attacker, before qualifying. It was just a friendly match, so there are no consequences. But when we see the match, there were a lot of warnings. »

A second defeat in a row – or even any result other than a victory – on Tuesday against Chile, which is only in 42nd place in the FIFA nation rankings, would fuel the emerging uncertainties. Doubts that only two friendly matches at the beginning of June will be able to dispel before the start of the Euro. Time is therefore running out. At the Stade-Vélodrome, where the French team takes to the pitch for the first time since March 2022 and its victory against Ivory Coast (2-1), the Blues will have to reassure. And do it with a largely overhauled team.

The opportunity for some to shine

The setback against Germany did not cause Didier Deschamps to deviate from his initial position in these first two friendly matches of the year: in the heart of the season, the players stick out their tongues – one of the explanations put forward by the coach to explain Saturday's defeat – and the idea is not to send them back to their respective clubs at the end of their rope. Eight to nine changes are, in fact, expected in the starting lineup on Tuesday.

Three months before the Euro, this squad review should allow the technician to see certain things, or to review them, in positions where doubt is allowed. Jonathan Clauss, in the den of his club Olympique de Marseille (OM), will once again have the opportunity to score points while Jules Koundé, overwhelmed against the Mannschaft, has never been convincing over time as right back in the French team.

At the top attacker position, the musical chairs continue, and no one has managed, for the moment, to establish their authority. Marcus Thuram missed an opportunity to shine against Germany and Olivier Giroud, like Randal Kolo Muani, will try to take advantage of it. In other positions, some – like the returning Mattéo Guendouzi and Moussa Diaby – will certainly have a few minutes to remember the coach, with a view to a place in the Euro list which will be revealed in may.

“Places are expensive,” recalled Didier Deschamps, who already has the hard core of the group – around fifteen players – nestled in a corner of his brain. Some will try, Tuesday evening, to plant the seed of reflection; a desire to do well from which the French team could benefit, which notably sinned due to a lack of determination on Saturday.

Take care of the start of the match

Faced with vengeful Germans after a series of bad results, some Tricolores played senatorial train, relying on the certainty of not having much to lose. To avoid doing it again, the Blues will certainly want to attack the match with their feet on the ground, after having missed several starts of matches in recent months.

Against Germany, in September 2023 (1-2), and last weekend, against Scotland, in October (4-1), and twice in Greece, in November (2-2), they thus conceded a goal during the first quarter of an hour of a period. Without going so far as to say that the France team will have had a successful start to the match against Chile if it does not concede a goal after ten seconds of play, it has every interest in getting rid of this bad habit.

Like conceding at least one goal in every match. Having kept his clean sheets until September 2023, goalkeeper Mike Maignan, successor to Hugo Lloris, led a defense praised for its impermeability. The French rearguard has since become more crumbly, and the return of the AC Milan goalkeeper in goal on Tuesday could reassure in this sector.

Facing the Chile of Alexis Sanchez, former OM player, the French collective will have to demonstrate that their confidence has not vanished after the slap they received – which served as a “reminder”, according to several players – face to the Mannschaft. “For the moment, we just took the slap and we didn’t gain anything,” recalled Mbappé. It’s up to us to use this match as a driving force. » To better sweep away the doubts that have emerged in recent days.