For its final meeting of the year, the French team arrives ambitiously in Athens despite a largely overhauled team.
Special envoy to Athens
What is at stake in the Blues’ last outing in 2023?
Totally useless for the general public. As for Deschamps and his players, never satisfied like their predecessors in 2000 who took advantage of each of their outings to display their talent and test their popularity like rock stars, there are always “carrots”. » to go and find. Even if the French selection is qualified for the Euro, ured of being seeded next summer, its members will want to remain undefeated in these playoffs. Another objective, to win in Athens against Greece (which has nothing left to play either) to secure the number 1 place in the Fifa rankings and stay ahead of Argentina. “DD» wants everything, all the time and arriving in Germany with this status excites him. His players too. On the field side, certain elements will play a big role in view of the Euro (see below) and a good or bad match Tuesday evening (8:45 p.m., TF1) could count…
Which team will Didier Deschamps field?
Between the desire to carry out a squad review, to spare the bodies and to avoid an injury after that of Warren Zaire-Emery (ankle sprain), whose end of year 2023 will be played out in the infirmary, Didier Deschamps does not hide his desire to (almost) change everything in his starting eleven. Looking behind closed doors on the lawn of the Opap Arena in Athens on Monday evening, the French eleven will be profoundly modified compared to the historic winners of Gibraltar on Saturday in Nice (14-0). In goal, Samba will celebrate its 2e selection instead of Maignan. In defense, Koundé, Saliba, Disasi (or Todibo) and Lucas Hernandez will replace Clauss, Upamecano and Théo Hernandez while Kamara or Fofana will take the place of Zaire-Emery in a midfielder where Griezmann, indestructible, will continue his 84e straight match in blue. In front, Kolo Muani (or Mbappé), Giroud and Dembélé will try to do as well as last Saturday for the last of the France team in 2023.
Which players are playing big for the Euro?
This is undoubtedly the difficulty of the meeting on Tuesday evening for certain elements. In an experimental team, but still attractive, they are given the opportunity to show themselves to appear in the list of 23 at the Euro. In defense, this applies to Saliba and Disasi, who are not sure about it given the XXL competition in this sector of play (Upamecano, Konaté, Pavard, Kimpembe, Todibo, Lukeba…) and who would do well to shine in a context more delicate than in Nice on Saturday. The Arsenal defender, attractive at the club, has not yet produced a remarkable performance with the selection, for example. In the middle, same objective for Fofana and Kamara. The Monegasque, scorer on the Côte d’Azur, is appreciated internally but his status remains fragile. This is even more the case for the former Marseillais, really not guaranteed to be at the Euro. These two elements were exceeded by “ WZE » in the hierarchy and behind the essentials (Tchouaméni, Rabiot, Camavinga), without forgetting the shadow of Kanté, the last tickets will be worth a lot. It’s up to them to finish 2023 on a good note.
What is Greece worth?
For their part, the Greeks do not have an accounting objective either. They can no longer go directly to Germany for the continental tournament (June 14-July 14) and are already preparing for the play-offs. In Path C of the Nations League, they will play a four-team mini-tournament with Georgia, Luxembourg and Kazakhstan (who can still qualify directly) or Azerbaijan.
“This match must serve as preparation with a lot of intelligence», ures AFP the coach of Greece Gustavo Poyet, former partner of Didier Deschamps at Chelsea (1999-2000). “Be humble and accept reality: France is much better than Greece. But we must find a formula to try to reduce this difference in level», Explains the Uruguayan.
What is the Blues’ program after this meeting?
For the players, the calendar will offer a gathering next March with the reception, barring any surprises, of Germany on the 22nd or 23rd in Lyon, before a match in Marseille on the 26th. Until then, all the internationals will battle in their respective championship and in European Cups for four months. As for the staff, Didier Deschamps and Guy Stéphan are expected in Germany on December 2 to attend the Euro draw (June 14-July 14). The list of 23 elected officials will be sent in mid-May, while the start of preparation should take place around ten days later, including two friendly matches in Metz and Bordeaux before the start of hostilities. Without betraying any secrets, the French team will arrive at neighboring Germany with a single objective in mind: to win the cup twenty-four years after the heroes of 2000 and forty after those of 1984.