Three months after the incredible 2022 World Cup final lost to Argentina, the French team has resumed qualifying for the next Euro to be played in Germany. From an accounting point of view, Didier Deschamps' men achieved a faultless performance by largely dominating the Netherlands (4-0) at the Stade de France then beating Ireland (1-0) in Dublin, with two good faces. different.
A look back at the individual performances that emerge from these Blues version 2023.
After the international retirement of Hugo Lloris, Mike Maignan finds himself propelled to the front of the stage with the French team, he who had only six selections before putting on the starting gloves. Very focused, the AC Milan goalkeeper has proven that we can count on him in the next round. After his penalty saved against the Netherlands, Maignan was decisive on Monday evening by making an exceptional save from a header by Nathan Collins late in the game. With these two games without conceding a goal, the former PSG goalkeeper could not have dreamed of a better start with this status.
MAGIC MIKE ✨ pic.twitter.com/hkpvX1REqY
Logically, he received praise from Didier Deschamps, his coach, at a press conference. “He has all the qualities, the scope and the mind. He is a leader. There was already the penalty stopped against the Netherlands. But this stop is worth even more. I had no doubts and uncertainties for the succession. When Mike (Maignan) is in full possession of his resources, it's at a very high level. »
Another expected renewal, that of the hinge with the long-term injuries of Presnel Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez but above all the international retirement of Raphaël Varane. Already in sight at the last World Cup, Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konaté again sent positive signals about their complementarity and their ability to chain high-level performances. In L'Équipe, Marcel Desailly had been dithyrambic about their potential. “They can become, especially Upamecano, perhaps, the greatest defenders that France has had, if the collective follows and continues to win titles. The succession is really very good. »
This weekend, RB Leipzig won against Bayern (2-1) with a central defense made up of two French kids, just that. ➡️ D. Upamecano (1998): 22 Bundesliga games. Trained in Évreux and VA. ➡️ I. Konaté (1999): 11 matches. Trained in Paris and Sochaux. pic.twitter.com/9Pr7lls0HJ
The two former Leipzig teammates form a relatively young central defence, aged 24 and 23 respectively, but complement each other ideally for now. With his quality of recovery and his anticipation, Upamecano reassured on his ability to be the new boss of the defense of the Blues. For his part, with his accuracy and his positive aggressiveness, Ibrahima Konaté accentuates this balance so dear to Didier Deschamps. In a boiling climate like Monday evening in Dublin, they did not capsize.
By inheriting the armband ahead of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé is now the undisputed leader of this generation who wants to resume his march forward after the loss of his world champion title. The PSG striker sent a strong signal against the Netherlands with a brace and an assist. He often spoke, like his intervention at half-time against the Oranje, to tell his teammates to insist even if the Blues were already leading 3-0. Less successful against Ireland, he did not seek to be the one and only savior of an uninspired French team in Dublin. With the cannon shot of Benjamin Pavard, the Blues held a precious success and Mbappé helped his people to keep this advantage.
On the front of the attack, the big winner of these international meetings in March remains Randal Kolo Muani. The Eintracht Frankfurt striker certainly did not score but he never stopped provoking and creating against opposing defenses. With his versatility, his percussion and his ability to dribble, he brings a unique profile to the sometimes too predictable offensive line of the Blues. "He's a striker who offers game prospects for our team. He is complete and has an impressive running volume,” even praised Kylian Mbappé about him. The competition with Olivier Giroud is definitely launched.