After 4 failed matches during this League of Nations, Daniel Riolo, pillar of After Foot on RMC, draws up a severe but fair assessment of the level of the Blues 5 months from the World Cup.
The convenient analysis would be to conclude that June was a bad month. The fault of “June” therefore. Weariness, mental fatigue, wear and tear, the long season. It seems that “June” is almost a tradition: Les Bleus are no longer advancing. After the first game, I was ready to accept this short explanation. After the second, go why not. We start counting the matches to convince ourselves that it is because of fatigue. We act as if the others do not exist. Opponents are always less tired, less worn. Why? Oh that I don’t know. It’s like that. French traditions. To excuse our European services, it takes an explanation every year. It’s a March catchphrase, so let’s imagine in June!
The problem here is the repetition of bad matches. Four! Four games without a win, two losses, an invisible game project. From the Euro, I had noted that the idea of play that the Blues were going to develop was based on a pattern: 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 3-4-3… And once we draw players on paper after it moves how? What is the general intention? Are we attacking? We defend? We play high, we press? We wait, we against? The “piston” players overflow and center but where and for whom?
The illusion of the League of Nations
The October 2021 matches sold an illusion. After the porridge of the Euro, Benzema was going to integrate better and everything was going to be transformed. The Blues were taken out by Spain, but as they won, then they were right according to Deschamps’ reflection. Benzema’s sublime goal served as a gift package for the illusion.
Then it was the discourse that changed. Promises about the end of boredom. And always Benzema. So strong with Real that inevitably… And Mbappé then? As if adding talent as a tactic or game plan was a serious idea.
And behind the magic duo, where are the talents precisely? First, the two will have to learn to play together one day. For the moment their understanding does not blind me. But even when it comes and they are like thieves at the fair, with whom will they make the French team shine? Pogba must therefore become a very high level football player again and a replacement for Griezmann must be found. It was, until then, the only two creative players of the Blues. In fact, we noticed a huge technical and creative deficit in these four matches. To start against Croatia with three 6s is scary, but who else? France has become accustomed to winning in percussion, speed, physicality and with small touches of talent.
Rabiot, the mystery of modern football
On these four matches, Tchouaméni appeared as our potential playmaker. He is certainly a good player destined for beautiful things, but never in life is he a playmaker. In Monaco, he has Golovin in front of him. Let’s not mix everything.
It is the only one, however, of which we say that he can quickly integrate the Blues as a holder. The others are tender. And then there is the useless Rabiot. The mystery of modern football. Allegri makes him play, Deschamps too. With humility, we have to admit that they know football better than us, don’t we? I will just allow myself to say that in front of Juve or the Blues, I am terribly bored. And if a technician is willing to explain to me what Adrien Rabiot is for on the pitch, I am available.
A black record five months from the World Cup is not necessarily prohibitive. Not encouraging either. Selection and tournament football has become very surprising. Sure values no longer exist. “We won’t win twice in the same way” Deschamps often declared as if to promise a revival. However, I wonder if he knows how to do otherwise. If its deep culture was not above all the minimalist game. What if taking back the trowel, the shovel and a packet of cement was not a form of fate? The famous “Deschamps style”. A good wall, four central defenders behind well aligned and we are looking for Mbappé and Benzema. After all, if you don’t know how to do otherwise, why try? One day, the Blues may come out of trouble. With a new coach. But we are not there.