Special correspondent in Dortmund
Without hesitation, the Real Madrid player received the best rating for the French team on Tuesday evening on our Figaro site. With 6/10, he was the most radiant Blue, almost alone in a tasteless and harmless B team. Between his successful game against Ireland last Thursday at the Parc des Princes, with constant activity and a nice goal, the former Bordeaux player did it again in Dortmund. If some of his teammates were liquefied, he showed himself to be at the level. With each of his outings, he learns, without making any noise and settles a little further into his new costume as midfield boss.
If you are a sports enthusiast or simply a football lover, come once in your life to the Westfalenstadion. So yes, you have to do it when Borussia Dortmund (and its fabulous “yellow wall”) plays within its confines (which has already been the case for us), but, even with a Germany match, the charm works. From arriving at the foot of a massive stadium with majestic 81,000 seats (we spare you the tempting smells of German sausage and the scent of cold beer), to entering the corridors then the stairs towards the stands where the The story is felt in every corner, the thrills invade you and never leave you. Tuesday evening, even with sparse stands, the magic started. As much as the city of Dortmund has little interest, you have to run to see a match at the stadium.
Obviously, he showed his smile much more often after the victory than before the match, but Rudi Völler impressed us with his ease, his clarity and his propensity to manage pressure. At 63, the former OM striker who won the Champions League in 1993 has seen the country and is not the feverish young technician who arrives. But faced with pressure from the media, many of whom attended a press conference on Monday afternoon, he never showed annoyance, discontent or condescension in a period of crisis. And on Tuesday evening, in the press room at Signal Iduna Park, he did not show up with his chest out, let alone give a lesson. Great gentlemen behave like this. With tact and class.
Deschamps himself admits: “We had a catastrophic start to the match.” With a goal from Müller in the 4th minute of play, the Blues gave the stick to be beaten. Too docile, not aggressive enough, too passive, not united enough, they failed. Like the Todibo-Saliba pair, overwhelmed, or the poor performances of Pavard, out of form, and Camavinga. A non-match on all levels.
Okay, he is not yet in his optimal form and is coming out of a complicated pre-season with his late departure for PSG, but in the French team, the opportunities to shine are not legion. You have to grab them when they come up. Tuesday evening, Randal Kolo Muani missed his appointment. Too discreet, clumsy, even if he could have collected a penalty after a charge from Rüdiger during the first act, the former Frankfurt striker did not show anything very attractive to score points in the three-way match he book with Giroud and Thuram for the starting position at the forefront of the French attack. By shining in Dortmund, he would have posed himself as a real alternative to the veteran of the Blues. On the contrary, without playing, the Milanese proved that he still had as much importance in the collective game of his team.
Of course we have to take care of our bodies, not take any risks in a friendly match, but make six changes at once against Germany in the starting team (Pavard, Todibo, Saliba, Coman, Camavinga and Kolo Muani replaced Koundé, Upamecano, L. Hernandez, Dembélé, Mbappé, Giroud) was undoubtedly too much. Add to this, the return to a 4-4-2 which did not bear fruit, the coach of the Blues was completely wrong. He has this luxury of being able to “swing” a gala poster against the Mannschaft, it is not given to everyone, without it having a profound impact on the life of the selection. He will have learned things and made young people grow in a hostile context. But for the public, it is already a match to forget.
We know it and we observe it at every gathering, the international level has nothing to do with domestic championships or even the Champions League. When you put on the blue jersey, you play for your family, your friends and above all you represent a country with all that that entails. For these reasons, some elements are excited and validate the test quickly, others experience more difficulty. This was the case for Jean-Clair Todibo on Tuesday evening for his first selection, but also for William Saliba, who honored his 10th cap. The two men, who played together in Nice, failed in great ways. Too passive, lax and overwhelmed, they gave the impression that the jersey with the two stars weighed ten tons. Anything but unforgivable. Many internationals have been there (ask Upamecano...), but both men learned in Dortmund. For sure. It's up to them to get up and come back even more armed. If the train passes again...