Didier Deschamps bets “on convalescents”

“I’m not stubborn, stubborn”, justified Didier Deschamps in front of the press, after revealing his list of 25 players, including 11 reigning world champions, brought to seek a new star in Qatar (November 20- December 18).

The boss of the Blues refused, at this stage, to deprive himself of any frame, with the exception of goalkeeper number 2 Mike Maignan, hit in the calf and dismissed in favor of Steve Mandanda, 37, and Alphonse Areola.

Integrated convalescents

Around captain Hugo Lloris and the formidable offensive trident formed by Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema, all the other convalescent players are thus integrated into the workforce, from vice-captain Varane (thigh) to Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles tendon ), via defender Jules Koundé (thigh).

Will they be delivered in time? The concern surrounded by the defensive sector, posing the risk of a fall or a lack of rhythm for the group stage, as at the 2002 World Cup with Zinedine Zidane, or at Euro-2008 with Patrick Vieira, two bad memory.

“From the moment I put them on, they are supposed to be fit for the first match”, November 22 against Australia, said Deschamps who, faced with uncertainties, resolved to expand his list up to 25 players.

“Trust” in Giroud

In office for more than ten years, Deschamps knows the rules inside out: his final list will only be sent to FIFA on Monday, before 7:00 p.m. And in the event of serious injury, replacements are always authorized until November 21, the day before the entry into the running.

Untenable at 36 with AC Milan, Olivier Giroud, for his part, knew how to make himself indispensable to his coach and play at his third World Cup.

Before aiming for the record of 51 goals held by Thierry Henry in Qatar, which he is trailing by two units, the former Arsenal and Chelsea player sees his longevity rewarded by becoming the oldest French champion player in history. to participate in a World Cup.

Rejuvenated environment

Alongside Mbappé and Griezmann, indispensable in the offensive line, Deschamps invites Kingsley Coman and Christopher Nkunlu to their first World Cup, and offers a second to Ousmane Dembélé.

In the absence of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, the totem duo of 2018, the midfielder will be made up of Aurélien Tchouaméni and Adrien Rabiot, supported by the Monegasque Youssouf Fofana, the Madrilenian Eduardo Camavinga and the Marseillais Jordan Veretout and Mattéo Guendouzi.

In defense, the persistent unknowns. Kimpembe has only played 70 minutes since early September, suffering a thigh injury and then a blow to the Achilles tendon last week. Varane has not played since his worrying injury on October 22. But they are there.


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