with the announcement of his list for Euro 2024, Didier Deschamps launches the post-World Cup
Three months after the final lost against Argentina in the World Cup, Didier Deschamps, extended in the meantime until 2026, returns to the scene. The coach unveils Thursday (2:00 p.m.) his first group of the year 2023, then different from the previous one to receive the Netherlands on March 24 and move to Ireland three days later.
The Blues will indeed take a facelift with the international retirement of historic captain Hugo Lloris, his lining in the cage Steve Mandanda and vice-captain and defensive rock Raphaël Varane, among others. As usual, the staff must meet, Wednesday evening or Thursday morning if the strike disrupted transport the day before, to refine their choices, weigh the latest medical feedback and make final arbitrations.
The coveted goalkeeper position
Once is not custom, the position of goalkeeper should be the subject of the most lively debates. The number one spot is already reserved for Mike Maignan (27 years old, 5 selections), the doorman of AC Milan, finally rid of his calf injury and designated successor to Lloris. But the identity of his two partners remains to be defined.
Alphonse Areola, present at the World Cup as N.3, holds the rope to insert the trio in view of his experience on the tricolor bench and his increasing playing time at West Ham, where the usual holder Lukasz Fabianski is taking care of a facial injury. The identity of the third man appears more blurred, even if two names emerge. Franck Raviot, the French goalkeeper coach, could give his preference to Brice Samba (28 years old, never called up) or Alban Lafont (24 years old, called up without playing in September), whom he observed during Lens-Nantes there is a month.
At the other end of the field, the attack line will be built without Karim Benzema, the Ballon d’Or angry with Deschamps, nor Ousmane Dembélé, injured. However, it remains well stocked with Kylian Mbappé, Kingsley Coman, Randal Kolo Muani or, most certainly, Olivier Giroud. At 36, the indestructible center-forward of AC Milan does not intend to hang up.
Christopher Nkunku, deprived of the World Cup at the last moment, will surely have to postpone his reunion with the Blues due to a new muscle injury, which put him on hold with Leipzig. More certainly, the 2018 world champion Paul Pogba is forced to draw a line under the next two international meetings. The “Pickaxe”, away from the national jersey for a year, has finally come to start his season with Juventus when a new injury, to the right thigh, mowed him down.
The Disabled Defense
His former partner N’Golo Kanté has still not returned to competition with Chelsea, which guarantees a summons to midfielders Adrien Rabiot, Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga, the latter also being able to occupy the left lane of the defense. The other globalists Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Jordan Veretout and Mattéo Guendouzi (Marseille) are less certain before the coach’s announcement.
In defense, Deschamps will be deprived of several ammunition since Presnel Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez are stuck in the infirmary, Ferland Mendy hardly returns. Shelved after the first match of the World Cup, Munich’s Benjamin Pavard should however be there. “Of course”, Deschamps is still counting on him. “Which player, at some point in his career, has not been questioned?” Said the boss of the Blues this week to the daily Le Parisien.
In central defense, Wesley Fofana (22) hopes to fight his way through the thick competition by virtue of his neat performances at Chelsea. The former Stéphanois already knows the route to Clairefontaine, where the Blues are expected on Monday, having crossed the training center with the Espoirs.