A defense, a work and above all questions

Not sovereign in the defensive sector since the start of the rally, the Blues have two encounters to dispel doubts.

Special envoy to Vienna

Squatting at the Hadjuk Split training ground on Tuesday during the last sunny session before joining Vienna the next day, Didier Deschamps observes the smallest details of an opposition backed by Guy Stéphan , distills a few words, but keeps a distance, discreet. Face closed and still deeply affected by the death of his father, the coach is not satisfied with the production of his troops, overtaken by Denmark (1-2) and hung in Croatia (1-1) during the first two days of League. of Nations. If he stays positive and mobilizing in his communication abroad, aware of the state of fatigue of the moment, the head of the blues expects something else from the last two matches of this June international sequence, against Austria on Friday in Vienna and the Stade de France on Monday with a meeting against the Crusaders. One sector of the game occupies the mind of the French squad: defense.

Six months before the World Cup, the play promises to be substantial and in Deschamps’ history no one can believe that the French team can land with a crumbling rearguard, lacking reference points and no place at the end of the match. year to defend his title. It would be against his nature. Today are the questions, the doubts as well, after the two inconclusive exits in this aspect of the game of the blues.

Didier Deschamps in training on Tuesday in Split, Croatia FRANCK FIFE / AFP

SEE ALSO – When Ibrahima Konaté approached his adaptation at Liverpool

Deschamps militates for the defense to three

Returning to a four-man defense on Monday in Split, “DD” shocked his world. With the idea above all of adapting to the limitations of the moment, that is, the absence due to injury (Mbappé) or the turnover (Benzema, Griezmann) of its three stars. Definitely a default option. ” I’m not closedtestimony. Maybe I’ll change the system again, I don’t forbid anything. These League of Nations matches are also there to prepare for the huge deadline that awaits us at the end of the year in Qatar. “But Deschamps keeps repeating what he wants” put in the best possible condition »Its elements. As Mbappé and Griezmann do not play on the sidelines, as Benzema is a true axial player, 3-4-1-2 will be the system, unless one of them is relegated from the World Cup. Proof of this is that in making his list, the coach clearly announced that Pavard was called up as a right-back – although he played on the sidelines on Monday – and that an element like Ousmane Dembélé had also stayed at home for his reason. profile not very suitable for this system implemented since last autumn. Translation, when there are all the offensive stars: three-man defense, when there is a break or training, Deschamps believes he can count on the option of four behind. A plan B that should not become a plan A.

Jonathan Clauss FRANCK FIFE / AFP

On the right, the match is (very) open between the pistons

With Kingsley Coman and Jonathan Clauss (Benjamin Pavard has never been an option in this game system), the Blues squad has two elements with completely different profiles (on the left, in general, for months Théo Hernandez and Lucas Digne are present). The Munich player who prefers to play on the left wing, continues to strive to meet the expectations of his coach. Good student, disciplined, volunteer, he makes defensive efforts to retire but inevitably this has repercussions on his contribution to the other side of the field.


Starting last Friday at the Stade de France against the Danes, he almost never managed to make a difference next to him, as if the multiplication of races had started on him physically. Sensation different from Jonathan Clauss. The Lensois, who only have one term in four national teams, are an experienced piston, coming off a good season in Ligue 1. Despite all this, their tasteless entry against the Dalmatians (provokes the penalty), in the midfield position right, he did. in weighing in his favor. Impossible to judge him in these conditions. At 29, Clauss arrives in a well-known group, pulls out his marks and won’t have fifty chances to score points. It is up to him to take advantage of his opportunity in case of being a holder at the end of the internship. That’s where his place in the World Cup depends. At the moment, no one can present himself as the undisputed incumbent.

Ibrahima Konate FRANCK FIFE / AFP

On the axis, the struggle promises to be fierce

Who says defense with three (on the axis), necessarily says more chances to appear. In this small match, and in the absence of Raphaël Varane – whose departure due to injury to Denmark coincided with the disintegration of the French bloc – the cards are shuffled. At least for the position of axial defender, that is, head of the rear. ” I can play that position “Source, ambitious, Presnel Kimpembe, 11e captain under the DD era and quite rare in Croatia. Let’s see if the coach will choose this solution on Friday evening in Vienna or prefer to give another chance to Saliba, rather neutral on Monday in Split or the new boy Konaté in this role. If not, the competition promises to be fierce between the Parisian and Lucas Hernández on the left axial side, as well as between Pavard, Koundé and Konaté on the right. Three men with different profiles and if the first two apply, the third and last to arrive has shown with Liverpool that he has solid qualities to advance. The solutions are many and the next two meetings will also allow new tests. Hoping that this time the copy of the set dispels some doubts. A real construction site.

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