ANALYSE – Former Paris SG player and international in the 70s and 80s before becoming a coach, Dominique Bathenay looks back on the lessons of the Blues match.
Dominique, what did you think of the performance of the French team against Denmark?
Dominique Bathenay : Above all, I found this French team to be balanced and solid, if not always flamboyant. After, knowing if Didier Deschamps has definitely found his device in 4-3-3, I would not go that far. We will have to see against stronger teams later in the competition.
Isn’t one of the great satisfactions of this France team the repositioning of Antoine Griezmann lower?
It’s true. We found the Griezmann of four years ago. He has always played a little in this role despite everything but by evolving a little higher. In Qatar, he was repositioned a bit by force of circumstance because Olivier Giroud can only be used in the centre. Behind, Griezmann touches a maximum of the ball and he loves it.
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What about the performance of Kylian Mbappé, author of a double?
Kylian is significantly better than four years ago. He plays much more collectively and tries less to make a difference alone even if he has to continue to do so from time to time with the talent he has.
The Blues still conceded a goal, did the defense reassure you despite everything with the return of Varane?
The defense is still a small question mark but I liked the new hinge. We must also take into account that in front of her, there is a creative rather than a recuperative environment and this inevitably has an impact on the four behind. Rabiot and Tchouameni had a great match but in terms of recovery it’s not necessarily the best yet. It’s a deliberate choice by Deschamps to compensate for this lack of density in the middle with the creativity of these two players. And for now, it pays off.
Is it a risky choice in your opinion?
The only doubt I have, indeed, is whether this environment will hold up against teams with a more substantial midfield. But for the moment, Rabiot is having an excellent World Cup and Tchouameni is also very convincing.
Could Didier Deschamps be called upon to strengthen this environment against a potential opponent like Spain for example?
We’ll see… But I still have the feeling that you have to play with your strengths first rather than adapting to those of others. However, unquestionably, Didier Deschamps has certainties in this area.
What do you think is the great satisfaction of the France team on this start of the World Cup?
Adrien Rabiot continues to amaze me. Like Kylian Mbappé, I think he has grown up. He no longer tries to do extraordinary things, he has a high volume of play and in this match, he often found himself in the good shots. I was not necessarily a super fan but you have to admit that he is showing up a little more in Qatar.
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