Back to school time for the France team. Victorious in their first four matches, the last in June against the Greek selection in Saint-Denis (1-0), the Blues face Ireland this Thursday (8:45 p.m., on TF1), during the fifth day of the qualifying for Euro 2024. The meeting will of course be followed live with commentary on our site, with our special correspondents Baptiste Desprez and Christophe Remise on site, at the Parc des Princes.
No, but almost. With a fifth success in as many outings in these Euro qualifiers, the Blues, solid leaders in the Group B standings, would post a total of 15 points, far ahead of Greece (2nd, 6 pts – 1 game less), Ireland (3rd, 3 pts – 1 game less), the Netherlands (4th, 3 pts – 2 games less) and the stooge of Gibraltar (5th, 0 pt). Knowing that the first two are qualified, the French team would already have a foothold in Germany. “I have already experienced situations with quasis”, breathes Didier Deschamps, who indeed experienced the dark hours of France-Israel (2-3) and France-Bulgaria (2-3) in 1993, at the Parc des Princes , while the Blues only needed a small point from the two matches to go to the 94 World Cup. “I am pragmatic and factual and the players are aware of this too. If that's enough, that's enough, but let's take the points first, "adds the coach, asking to wait until the" end of the rally "to" make a point ". The Blues will challenge Germany in Dortmund in a friendly next Tuesday (9 p.m.).
Quite simply because the Dionysian enclosure is requisitioned for the Rugby World Cup (September 8 – October 28). Moreover, the Blues will only play one match at the Stade de France this season, on November 18, against Gibraltar. Before that, they will play in Lille on October 17, then in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Metz in 2024. Why? Due to the facelift planned at the Stade de France in view of the Paris Olympics in 2024. Remember that the Parc des Princes has long been the home of the French team. This is where Michel Platini's Les Bleus were crowned European champions in 1984. The last time they played there? November 2021, with an 8-0 card against Kazakhstan synonymous with accession to the World Cup in Qatar. A better memory than 93…
A priori, little surprise to expect in front, where no risk will be taken with Randal Kolo Muani (ankle), neither in the middle nor in the goals. It will be Ousmane Dembélé rather than Kingsley Coman in attack on the right. In defense, Didier Deschamps has several options to compensate for Ibrahima Konaté's package, namely Axel Disasi, the last called Jean-Clair Todibo, but also and above all William Saliba, very prominent with Arsenal. Called as right-backs, Benjamin Pavard and Jules Koundé were a priori out of the race. It is finally Lucas Hernandez who should have the favors of “DD”. Remember that the neo-Parisian has not played in Blue since his knee injury against Australia at the World Cup. However, he returned to the pitch with the capital club and played all the matches this season. On the right, Koundé should be favored over Pavard. He was not at a press conference, but Kylian Mbappé will have the armband.
The important thing is the three points. Long embarrassed against the Irish (very) grouped together, the Habs finally won 1-0 in Dublin last March. And this thanks to a (magnificent) goal signed Pavard in the 50th minute. Narrow but precious victory. "Ireland caused us problems there," summarizes the national coach in front of the press. Not worried in the first period, the France team had finally trembled at the end, relying on an excellent Mike Maignan in goal. The AC Milan goalkeeper had a crazy end to the match, with two saves in quick succession, including that of the 89th minute, an exceptional save. He had inherited a nice 8 in the notes of our special correspondent, Baptiste Desprez. The best score among Didier Deschamps' players that night.
“This match had been complicated”, recalls Deschamps, noting that the Irish had arrived with more “freshness”, they who had played a friendly three days before unlike the Blues, opposed to the Netherlands. “This team from Ireland has quality. We will have to have more presence and create more defensive problems for them, knowing that we had few chances there. At times, they had a well-grouped defensive block, I think that will be the case tomorrow (Thursday)", he still guesses, he who does not hesitate to say that his team had been "a little happy at the end with this judgment of Maignan”. And to conclude: "It will be necessary to bring variety to create discrepancies". Chick?
After a turbulent summer, Kylian Mbappé has found the game and a form of serenity with PSG … without knowing the content of his agreement with the club. Good for the Blues, even if Didier Deschamps does not hide that he would have selected the native of Paris even if he had not played since the start of the season... Still, after his release gap, Mbappé has split five goals in his first three matches in 2023-24, including two doubles against Lens (3-1) and Lyon (1-4), he who is only at a length of Michel Platini in the ranking of the best scorers in the history of the France team (41 against 40). Fourth, "Platoche" is only preceded by Antoine Griezmann (43), Thierry Henry (51) and Olivier Giroud (54). "Don't worry, he will soon catch up with me", smiled the current record holder, during the 2022 World Cup, last winter in Qatar, referring to "KM". Who doubts that?