Kimpembe again captain, Maignan in goal, Benzema absent from the collective session… What you need to know before France-Croatia

Kimpembe again captain, Maignan in goal, Benzema absent from the collective session… What you need to know before France-Croatia

The Blues are back at the Stade de France. On the eve of the French team’s last match of the season, against Croatia, on Monday, andtwo days after having chained a third match without success, against Austria on Friday in Vienna (1-1), they trained on the Dionysian lawn, Sunday June 12. With, as since the start of this gathering, absentees and players not quite physically ready.

After the departure of the group of N’Golo Kanté and Lucas Hernandez on Saturday, they were only 13 outfield players out of 19 to participate in the collective session. Three (Theo Hernandez, William Saliba and Moussa Diaby) contented themselves with cycling at the edge of the lawn, while three others (Karim Benzema, Boubacar Kamara and Ibrahima Konaté) could not do anything other than jogging . A way of “better recover”, reassured Didier Deschamps at a press conference by referring to the case of Benzema, which does not exclude his presence in the starting XI tomorrow.

The only certainties concerning the team that will start the match against Croatia: Mike Maignan and Presnel Kimpembe will be there. Both took part in the training session but the presence of the latter at the press conference confirmed the repetition of the scenario of the first leg against Croatia. As in Split, last Monday, Maignan will occupy the position of goalkeeper in place of Hugo Lloris, and Kimpembe will inherit the captain’s armband for the second time with the Blues.

“This piece of fabric means a lot of things and rewards the accumulation of years of sacrifice”, assured the Paris Saint-Germain defender, whom Deschamps trusts because he is “a fighter, an expressive leader”. As a good captain, and boss of this defense in the absence of Raphaël Varane, Kimpembe announced the color for the match against Croatia: “It’s a very, very important match. It’s an obligation to win tomorrow and we’re all aware of that.”

The Blues indeed occupy the last place in group 1 of the League of Nations, behind Croatia, whose players trained after those of the France team. A success therefore appears essential to avoid relegation in the competition. It remains to be seen with which weapons Deschamps will go into battle tomorrow, and in which tactical system.

The coach left room for doubt after two games, against Croatia and Austria, played with a four-man defense. Regarding a presence of Kylian Mbappé in the team tomorrow, Deschamps explained “to be in the management of his case”. “Obviously he’s not 100%. It’s the last match, we have to make sure we combine all our forces to finish this camp well and win against Croatia. I won’t have the answer on his presence only tomorrow”, explained the boss of the Blues.

Good news: after several sessions spent away from the group, especially on the eve of the match against Austria, Mbappé participated normally in the collective session on Sunday. It remains to be seen in what state his knee is, before this very last match of an exhausting season from start to finish. But given his decisive entry against Austria at the hour of play on Friday, we suspect that Deschamps would like to be able to field the PSG striker tomorrow.

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