Maignan, Mbappé… What to remember from the first two matches of the Blues

Maignan, Mbappé… What to remember from the first two matches of the Blues

Euro 2024 qualifications – After his two successes against the Netherlands and against Ireland, Didier Deschamps can learn some valuable lessons.

By Adrian Mathieu

Mike Maignan and the new captain of the Blues Kyllian Mbappe sent a very strong signal in their first two games for the French team in 2023.
Mike Maignan and the new captain of the Blues Kyllian Mbappé sent a very strong signal their first two games for the French team in 2023.

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TThree months after the incredible final of the 2022 World Cup lost against Argentina, the French team has resumed the path of qualifying for the next Euro which will be played in Germany. In accounting terms, 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 well-rounded faces. different.

A look back at the individual performances that emerge from these Blues version 2023.

Maignan, France have a new boss in their goals

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 on a header from Nathan Collins at the end of 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.

He logically 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. »

A central defense that imposes

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 once again sent positive signals about their complementarity and their ability to chain high-level performances. In The Team, Marcel Desailly had been dithyrambic on 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. »

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.

Kylian Mbappé, a captain to guide them

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 is 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.

READ ALSOFrance team: Khéphren Thuram, a family habitFinally, for the midfielder, the continuity of the World Cup was favored by Didier Deschamps, even if Eduardo Camavinga grew out of his performance in Ireland. Behind the indisputable Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot, the Real Madrid midfielder is in competition with… his club teammate, Aurélien Tchouaméni. Positioned as a sentinel, the former Rennais lost only one duel in Dublin and above all knew how to play his team forward. What to reshuffle the cards a little in the midfield? Responses in June with Gibraltar and Greece on the program.


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