The leaves have not yet covered the lawns of the National Technical Center of Clairefontaine. But the clouds have already gathered well above the blue heads. And that of Didier Deschamps in particular. The national coach is usually the first to feel the rain falling on his head. It’s the function that wants it. But for the past few days, DD has been continuously getting buckets of water on the corner of his nose. And, two months from the World Cup, even if he assured Thursday still not to be “never worried”, he also conceded that he had experienced return to school in a more serene and peaceful climate. An understatement, of course.
If we draw the thread of the last year, since a Euro concluded by an elimination in the round of 16 against Switzerland, there is so much to say, so much so that it would take more than one article to go to the end of story. Anyway, it’s not worth going back so far to dive into the tricolor slump. And this back-to-school rally, the last before THE list and the World Cup, is enough to smell the stale air flying over the Blues. As if preparing for a World Cup and defending a title – which no nation has managed since Brazil’s 1958-1962 double – were not enough to fill the days.
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There are obviously field concerns, injuries and a list which grew even longer on Tuesday morning with the call of Adrien Truffert to replace Lucas Digne, who had already replaced Théo Hernandez. Second double replacement of the rally after that of Adrien Rabiot by Boubacar Kamara, injured before arriving and who left his chasuble to Jordan Veretout. There is also the system, this 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 that the Habs have been trying to approve for a year. He did not last 61 minutes last June. And will not be animated, whatever happens, by its main actors in September.
And then there’s the sideline, as if the land wasn’t enough. Paul Pogba, injured but above all the victim of a dark and terrifying affair. There are the torments of the FFF and the cases revealed by L’Equipe, a few months ago, by So Foot, in its latest issue, then by Josimar last Friday. Moral harassment, sexual harassment, rewarded at all levels: the Ministry of Sports has finally resolved to launch an audit and is looking into the case of the institution led by Noël Le Graët.
2022 versus 2010
The icing on the cake: the management of the collective image rights of the players of the France team, relaunched by Kylian Mbappé on Monday afternoon and broadcast (it seems) hastily at the end of the evening. If it weren’t for the rest, this story would only be an adventure.
On arrival, we are not far from thinking that this gathering and this pre-World Cup is not comparable to any other during the DD decade. The sextape affair was unveiled in November 2015 and, at the time of the Euro, thanks to the results of the Blues and an offensive breath of fresh air, it faded.
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To find traces of such a turbulent World Cup preparation, you have to go back to 2010 and before Knysna. Far be it from us to compare and sing at the same epilogue. But the advance towards the World Cup also looks like a way of the cross. At the time, the cocktail of results at half mast, extra-sporting affairs (Zahia) and the situation of the FFF, with a president – Jean-Pierre Escalettes – who no longer controlled much, had ruled out more or less equal shares to gun down the atmosphere and the meager tricolor ambitions.
Twelve years later, we will not compare business and their finery. It’s not a contest. We will not insult Didier Deschamps by looking for common points with his distant predecessor or comparing their management, even less their results. But we will emphasize how porous the field is and that the players or a team cannot be evaluated in a sealed bubble. Even if everyone’s language elements regularly apply to swear to the contrary, it is not true. What happens at 87 boulevard de Grenelle or Chanteloup en Brie has repercussions on the pitch. From the Stade de France. Until Doha.
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