The French football team faces the Netherlands on Friday as part of qualifying for Euro 2024 and Scotland next Tuesday in a friendly. Inventory.
What is at stake in this international sequence?
Validate the qualification at Euro 2024. A clear, clear and precise issue. This is the immense and only challenge for Didier Deschamps and his troops in the days to come. The challenge is known to everyone, to validate the ticket to the European Championship planned in Germany (June 14-July 14), you must win in Amsterdam on Friday evening. Even if a draw or a defeat can also send the Blues to neighboring Germany, as the lead is comfortable in the group B (15 points against 9 in the Netherlands – who have a game in hand – and Greece). As a reminder, the first two are qualified, which means that with five victories in as many matches and the prospect of meeting Gibraltar again (last with 5 defeats, 0 goals scored and 17 conceded) in November, the vice-world champions are almost guaranteed to be at the big meeting next summer. But finishing the job in Amsterdam, and validating first place, synonymous with additional protection during the draw, must occupy the minds of the French.
Will Kylian Mbappé, captain of the Blues, finally break his silence?
Since June 15 and an press conference in Faro before Gibraltar-France, Kylian Mbappé no longer spoke publicly. Whether at Paris SG (once on Sunday evening for 20 seconds at half-time of the match against Rennes) or in the French team, the 24-year-old world champion remains silent. In the selection, Didier Deschamps had the habit of always sending his captain to the media before and very often after matches, a role which fell to Hugo Lloris, perfect for avoiding going off the road. Since Mbappé took power, the latter has given way to his vice-captain, Antoine Griezmann, three times already. Including the last two, consecutive, during the September gathering. Will it be the same this week? Everything is possible.
At the end of his contract with PSG next June, Mbappé knows he is eagerly awaited on this subject and is not the type to shy away from his responsibilities in front of the microphone. Deschamps, annoyed by the June press conference in Portugal where the subject of the Blues was completely skipped (all the questions focused on his future in the capital), decided to act differently last month. In October, his situation at the club did not change one iota. And the Blues deliver a decisive match for qualification for the Euro against the Dutch. So many elements which do not encourage optimism to end the silence of the captain of the France team.
Who is ahead in the Giroud-Kolo Muani match?
Didier Deschamps has the luxury of being able to count on different profiles at the forefront of his attack since the international retirement of Karim Benzema at the start of the year. But competition is fierce between Olivier Giroud (37 years old, 125 caps, 54 goals) and Randal Kolo Muani (24 years old, 10 caps, 1 goal) and to a lesser extent Marcus Thuram (26 years old, 12 caps, 1 goal). The first two mentioned offer the coach different profiles. Experience, realism, altruism and a pivotal position for the Milanese, when the Parisian offers speed, volume of play, depth and the beginning of complementarity with Mbappé and Dembélé, his friends at PSG.
“ In my choice, it is more the profile in relation to the opponent, the type of match that we can face, Olivier and Marcus (Thuram) have a similar profile, Kolo is differentargues Deschamps, who refuses to publicly reveal a hierarchy, far too experienced to know that between October and June, there can be a world between the two situations. If it’s a low block in the box, that may lead to a different choice (Giroud/Thuram). If there is a little more space, it may lead to another choice (Kolo Muani). »
Last September, Giroud started the match that counted against Ireland (2-0) but left quickly due to injury, replaced by Thuram. Kolo Muani, lacking form and suffering from a small physical problem, also had his chance against Germany (2-1 defeat) in a friendly, without shining. What about the starter coming Friday in the important match against the Netherlands? Barring injury, Giroud seems to be leaving with a head start.
Why is Clauss playing big this week in the French team?
Even if Didier Deschamps wanted to calm the wait around Jonathan Clauss (“he is not gambling with his life, it is not a ping exam”), whose last selection dates back to September 2022, the high level does not forgive much . With Koundé’s withdrawal and the coach’s primary desire to refocus Pavard, the Marseillais has a good card to play against the Netherlands and Scotland.
In a devastated gaming sector without deep resources, where training centers have been rampant since 2018 (Pavard, Koundé), the former Lensois must score points with a view to the Euro and prove, why not in Amsterdam, that he at the international level. If Deschamps launches it from the start on Friday against the Netherlands and the ping exam is ped, the ticket for the European Championship will practically be validated.