Alexis Menuge, Cyrille de la Morinerie with AFP
09:38, November 09, 2022
It is a significant moment before each major competition: the announcement of the list of players selected in French to participate in a World Cup. In front of their small screen, football lovers hold their breath, at the same time as the candidates for the France team, eager to defend the precious golden star acquired in Russia in 2018. Long kept secret, the list of 23 to 26 happy elected will be made public by the coach on the set of the 8 p.m. Journal of TF1. The boss of the world champions will detail his choices and thoughts then at a press conference at the headquarters of the broadcaster, in Boulogne-Billancourt. There are some to be there, like captain Hugo Lloris, the irremovable Antoine Griezmann or the offensive prodigy Kylian Mbappé, faithful representatives of the sacred generation four years ago, or even Karim Benzema, freshly Ballon d’Or.
Others feel more pressure approaching the list because the competition, their physical condition and/or the coach’s tactical choices leave them in uncertainty. “I was injured a long time ago but I worked well with a physical trainer and frankly, I feel very, very good,” said defender Lucas Fernandez. “I had a goal in mind, it was the World Cup. And here it is, thanks to God and thanks to the work, I am here today”, he explains at the microphone of Europe 1. good position to be selected, the defender indicates “stay quiet at home”, hoping “to see himself in the list”.
Cohabitation Giroud / Benzema?
In the puzzle concocted by Deschamps, will the Giroud piece have its place? The second top scorer in the history of the Blues has done everything to invite himself to Doha, both with AC Milan and in the selection, where he has been recalled for one each time Benzema is forfeited. Since the Euro, the coach refuses to summon the two attackers at the same time, judging “difficult” for Giroud to accept, with his service record in the blue jersey, a role of lining without cringe.
But the two men recently brought up the subject and that pleads in favor of the 36-year-old centre-forward, just like the physical concerns which are currently undermining Benzema, who still forfeited Monday with Real Madrid. For his list, Deschamps has not only one medical file to examine, but two, three or even four, as long as the injured have wondered in recent weeks. The technician, already orphaned by midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, feared the worst when he saw his vice-captain Raphaël Varane, pillar of the tricolor defense, come out in tears on October 22 after a worrying injury in the club.
However, optimism is now de rigueur for the central defender, his recovery time seeming compatible with the entry into lice on November 22 against Australia.
Official list Monday
The situation may seem more delicate for Mike Maignan, goalkeeper N.2 injured in a calf, and for Presnel Kimpembe, suffering from an Achilles tendon, because Deschamps has set a clear limit: “I will not take a player who does not is not able to play the start of the competition,” he told AFP in recent days. Other recent holders remain fragile, like Jules Koundé, preserved by FC Barcelona, and Lucas Hernandez, who has just returned to the field with Bayern.
The coach retains some leeway since the final list must be sent Monday at 7:00 p.m. to Fifa. In the event of a serious injury, he can also make last-minute replacements until November 21. Will “DD” create surprise by calling a novice, as with Jules Koundé at the Euro in 2021, or a little very capped like Lucas Hernandez before the World Cup in 2018?
The young AC Milan defender Pierre Kalulu or his compatriot from Leipzig Mohamed Simakan, both 22, are probably dreaming of getting out of their hat.