Tomorrow’s French team, without Benzema, but with whom?
Three months after the failure in the final of the World Cup, the “blues” will regain the qualification for Euro-2024 in March. Monday’s announcement that Karim Benzema has ended his international career raises some questions about the face of Didier Deschamps’ squad, whose future will soon be decided.
. Deschamps, stop or again?
The coach started the World Cup at the end of the contract, a first in the competition, a disappointing Euro sin in 2021, completed in the round of 16. Deschamps lived up to the expectations of Federation President Noel Le Graet by advancing to the “last four” or semi-finals.
The two men will soon meet at Guingamp, Le Graet’s castle, to discuss the extension. “I have already said, I hope he will say yes. He has the cards in his hand,” the leader told Le Parisien newspaper on Sunday.
Deschamps, 54 at the helm of the Blues, flourishes in this role, where his qualities as a leader of men do wonders. However, he refused to discuss his future after the match. “Even if the result was the other way around, I wouldn’t have answered you.”
. A murky future for the thirties
If Deschamps returns, will all his reliable men be available against Holland and Ireland in March? Team captain Hugo Lloris and striker Olivier Giroud are nearing the end of their careers at the age of 35 and 36.
“Like everyone else, I need to take a step back, get high on things. We’ll see in a few weeks,” said the goalkeeper, who set a record with 145 selections.
Pushed down the pecking order by Mike Maignan, the goalkeeper faces a dilemma: risk withdrawing or losing his N.1 status at the will of the coach.
Lloris, who won the Euros in a year and a half, can still achieve a few selections, like Giroud, who was the blues’ top scorer in the World Cup (53 goals). During the tournament, he warned, “I’m not putting any limits on myself” and “my determination to stay at the highest level and have fun is intact.”
Antoine Griezmann (31) and Raphaël Varane (29) still have a few pages to write in the history of the Blues. For Steve Mandanda (37), it is far from certain.
. Benzema, less controversy
While Paul Pogba, who will turn 30 in March, and 32-year-old N’Golo Kante are expected to be among the rest injured, that will not be the case for Benzema three days before the competition. Qatar.
“I wrote my story and our story is over,” the Real Madrid striker wrote on Twitter, accompanied by a photo of him in a tricolor jersey.
The epilogue is cruel for the Golden Ball, whose career in Blue will continue to disappoint. But Deschamps – if he stays – has a bit of a file to decide: the Madrid player’s case would definitely be at the heart of his next roster announcement.
Deschamps, the number 19 in Qatar, who has been frustrated by questions about his injury, will probably not have to justify himself now.
. The next generation is already there, and so is its boss
Whether the “olds” go or not, come back or not, the young generation has already gained some power in the Qatar World Cup.
“There is a generation entering the final stage somewhere and a handover with a new generation of players led by Kylian (Mbappe) who has shown strong leadership in this tournament and even more. In this final,” he concluded. upper Lloris.
The Paris striker will be just 27 years old, along with defender Ibrahima Konate and midfielder Youssouf Fofana, in 2026 World Cup hosts Mexico, Canada and the United States.
22-year-old Aurélien Tchouaméni has already established himself as a key player in midfield. Dayot Upamecano and Jules Koundé are included in defense at the same age as Ousmane Dembélé’s contemporary Marcus Thuram (25) with attacking promise Randal Kolo Muani (24). Eduardo Camavinga is only 20 years old.
“This is a very young group. We have built our success on defeats, so this group will come into its own,” said Varane confidently about the springboard to the 2018 world champion title, where he lost to the final of Euro 2016. It’s a group with a big heart.”