By winning the League of Nations against Spain this Sunday evening, the France team woke up the regrets of not having seen it triumph at the Euro last summer to establish its hegemony on the football planet. This week, the Blues have proven that they have a lot of talent and a lot of pride, but these ingredients alone will not be enough in 2022 to find the real heights.
This is not exactly the silver trophy that Hugo Lloris hoped to receive from the hands of Aleksander Čeferin in 2021. This did not prevent the Blues from leaving the smiles, the tricolor flags and to address a few kisses to their new baby, the Cup of the League of Nations, when celebrating their victory in the final against Spain (1-2) this Sunday evening, in Milan. Whether we laugh or not, the France team became this weekend the first nation to win the World Cup, the Euro and the brand new League of Nations (we could even add the late Cup of the Confederations for the road). We must not spit on victories, even when they are small, Didier Deschamps will explain it better than anyone. Still, this little party improvised by the Blues on the lawn of San Siro leaves some regrets almost three months to the day after Italy raised the most prestigious trophy, that of the European champion, the real one, at Wembley.
A generation to rule
For the most presumptuous, history even seemed written in advance: the French team, world champion in 2018, was destined to achieve a new historic double this summer. It could not be otherwise, no other selection was able to compete. The inaugural success against Germany had also given weight to this idea of an invincible group. Then, the gang led by Deschamps disintegrated, leaving doubt to settle and its opponents, including Switzerland, to say that the supposed impossible was possible (welcome to this wonderful world of football). With hindsight, the mess remains immense.
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– French team ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) October 10, 2021
Between an impressive tank (with the exception of one or two positions), an amazing generation and the return of a Karim Benzema in a state of grace, nothing was to happen to France. The coronation of 2018 was to be the starting point of a hegemony worthy of that of Spain between 2008 and 2012, perhaps even the beginning of an unprecedented domination. Easier to write than to accomplish, it’s true. Problem: failure against Switzerland cannot be reduced to a simple accident. Can we also really repeat that this round of 16 was played within ten minutes, as the coach has continued to do since the start of the school year? “Yes, because three times nothing would have been enough to be in the quarterfinals.” No, because there were firsts. We were still more vulnerable, analyzed Kylian Mbappé in The team this week. Before, you had to get up early to score a goal. Now, we take some goals … The Swiss, at the Euro, attacked us immediately. Two years ago, would they have attacked us like that? ”
Talent, pride … and after?
The Euro 2020 page has been turned, but the idea of the French team’s hegemony on the football planet has not disappeared. She even made her comeback on the front of the stage this week after two far from successful meetings, but during which the Blues found a mental strength to overthrow Belgium and Spain, two opponents who count on the chessboard of world football. “We are always thirsty for trophies, we are never satisfied. We faced a great Belgian team in the semi-finals, and a very great team from Spain tonight. We can be proud of this new trophy won, rejoiced Paul Pogba at the microphone of M6 after the victory. We started badly, in a first period dominated by Spain. We are more on a reaction, but we want victory above all. If that’s how we have to win, why not. We will continue like this. ” Truly ? In both cases, the talent of the French individuals (Benzema, Mbappé, Pogba or even Lloris on his line at the end of the match tonight) and the crazy pride of this group came to save a failing collective. It was even sometimes painful to see this Sunday evening a team made up of players of this caliber not manage to circulate the ball. This is perhaps the room for progress of the France team in its 3-4-1-2 still very perfectible: put in place a more consistent collective strategy so as not to systematically rely on the exploits of some and egos of all to win. In 2022, Hugo Lloris and his friends will not be able to go wrong with the trophy.
By Clément Gavard