The Blues have not fully healed the wounds of the defeat against Denmark on Friday. They were held in check by Croatia (1-1) on Monday June 13, despite a good opener from Rabiot (51st). Kramaric (83rd) equalized on a penalty following a foul by Clauss. With a very reshuffled team, France was not really reassured and is in penultimate place in this group 1. Franceinfo: sport returns to the four questions raised by this draw.
Is Tchouaméni becoming the real boss of the Blues?
He was the only survivor of the defeat against Denmark. Aurélien Tchouaméni played an hour, won 67% of his duels and scratched 7 balls. These statistics made him the best French midfielder in this area, even if he came out in the 62nd. Everything was not perfect, but his safe and his technical quality make the Monegasque unstoppable. “I found him to perform better in March, but he was also the only player who followed up”, analyzed the coach at a press conference. Revealed in blue in the final of the last League of Nations, he impresses and has started four of France’s six games since.
At his side, Mattéo Guendouzi and Adrien Rabiot delivered serious performances. But they seem, in the hierarchy, far from Tchouaméni. Will the ex-Bordeaux go so far as to threaten the double pivot Kanté-Pogba at the World Cup? The physical fragility of the duo the advantage. In attitude, he already has everything of a boss, at 22 years old. Even if it was not obvious on Monday, we saw him repeatedly haranguing his partners against Denmark.
Can Maignan compete with Lloris?
Hugo Lloris had not seen the bench in an official match for four years (France 0-0 Denmark, at the 2018 World Cup). Mike Maignan knew the opportunity, the Milan goalkeeper seized it. After a few hazardous outings in the first act, the ex-Lillois recovered perfectly, for his third outing in blue, the first in official competition. He finished the match with four saves on the clock and couldn’t do much on Kramaric’s penalty.
71′ Nice stop from Mike Maignan who goes down well on Modric’s shot!
— French team ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) June 6, 2022
Italian champion and voted best goalkeeper of the season in Serie A, Maignan has reached a milestone this year. “He showed and confirmed everything he does very well with his club.confirmed Deschamps. I’m lucky to have two very good goalkeepers available.” A welcome progression, as Lloris will blow out its 36 candles in December. The hierarchy seems at least fixed until Qatar, but the question of after Lloris may arise after the World Cup. There is currently no reason why Maignan should not inherit the position.
Is a permanent return to 4 defenders possible?
For the first time since September, Deschamps presented a device with four defenders. This choice, which follows Varane’s injury against Denmark, did not have all the expected effects. The alignment problems glimpsed on Friday have not been resolved, Pavard’s error on the penalty testifies to this. The central hinge Saliba-Kimpembé has for its part experienced some setbacks.
It will be necessary, at the very least, to wait for the two other League of Nations matches (Friday and Monday) against Austria and again against Croatia to judge the sustainability of the system. Even if the 3-4-1-2 is not perfect, it seems the most suitable for executive profiles. It has the advantage of better enhancing the offensive qualities of the players in the corridor, who are freer to project themselves than they were in Split.
Can we learn any real lessons after this match?
Didier Deschamps makes no secret of it: such matches serve in particular to “to have more answers”. “We play all the matches to win them with this objective, but they are also preparation matches. It’s in anticipation of what awaits us at the end of the year. [la Coupe du monde]“added the boss of the Blues after the meeting.
With ten changes from the defeat against Denmark, the coach did not do half measures on Monday. Inevitably, the Blues did not shine by automatisms, even if the goal came from a combination between Ben Yedder and Rabiot. The French were very inexperienced: the 11 holder had 16 caps on average, against 56 on Friday, and again, the side Pavard and Digne combine half of the total.
The starting composition of our Blues against Croatia
— French team ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) June 6, 2022
It is difficult, under these conditions, to give real value to the overall performance. Moreover, Croatia also turned around and did not really burst the screen, except for a successful last quarter of an hour.
The physical variable is also to be taken into account, as it was very hot and humid in Split. This match, at the relative stake, arrived at the twilight of a grueling season, which was felt in the repetition of efforts, sometimes inconsistent, even if Deschamps did not use his five changes. The pace of the meeting was therefore sluggish.