In Grégoire Margotton’s recent documentary, released shortly before the departure of the Blues for the World Cup, Didier Deschamps said something like this (“almost” because at the time of writing these lines the sun is already rising over Doha and eyes start to tingle): “I always say that a coach never makes good or bad choices, he only makes choices. It is the players then who produce good or bad. Tuesday evening, after the nice success against Australia for the entry into the running of his team, DD has therefore made good choices. But, while we could think of a reply on himself, and therefore of a certain reluctance for fear of repeating the fiasco of the 8th final against Switzerland during the last Euro, the French coach did what he said he didn’t like to do: line up four purely offensive players at the start of a match.
Deprived of Karim Benzema at the penultimate minute, the coach chose to trust the incredible Olivier Giroud, surrounded by a trio Mbappé – Griezmann – Dembélé in a 4-2-3-1 system. And unlike 2018, when he had to revise his plans during the match against Australia, by bringing Matuidi up on the left wing and placing Giroud up front, this time Deschamps may have directly found the winning formula. We will of course have to wait for the slope to rise a little more, from Saturday against Denmark, to draw a definitive conclusion, nevertheless, what his Blues have shown, we suggest that there is some truth in what we say this Wednesday.
And it’s a feat to put to his credit, because it was not a foregone conclusion. By offering the left lane to Kylian Mbappé, who is never better than when he leaves launched on this side, and by trusting a Dembouz still too much on alternating current, the double world champion clearly assumes his new cobbled-together strategy in the final sprint of this (non) preparation for the World Cup, after more than a year working on his system in 3-5-2 or 3-4-3.
“A balance to be found” for Grizou
If placing the two Paris-Barcelona TGVs on the wings is not genius either, as their qualities in this position are obvious to any district trainer, and if he cannot put Giroud elsewhere than at the forefront , the great discovery of Deschamps lies in the repositioning of Antoine Griezmann. Indeed, we were talking about a 4-2-3-1 at the start of the paper, but it would be more accurate to speak of a 4-3-3 with a Rabiot-Tchouaméni-Grizou midfielder. This allows the coach to maintain a similar solidity to 2018, when Matuidi played triple lungs in the middle of the field to compensate for the freedom offered to Mbappé. And as with his four-man defense, announced as soon as his list of 25 was published in early November, Deschamps played cards on the entry table on how he did not plan to use the mate drinker.
“Antoine is in an attacking role but he has this ability to have a high volume of play. Even when he is attacking, that does not prevent him from coming back very low, sometimes too much for my taste. In his club, he does it a lot too. At times, he changes position, he finds himself in a triangle in the middle of the field, it does not pose a problem for him. It’s a balance to find. “In view of the Colchonero match on Tuesday, it is difficult to contradict him. Invited to react to this new position of Grizi in Blue, Pavard encouraged in him the “very intelligent player”. “In all positions he gives his all for the team, it’s a position that suits him well”, validated the Munich player, more accurate in his analysis than in his positioning on the Australian goal.
Less flamboyant but more effective?
Same barrel on the side of Hugo Lloris a few minutes later in the mixed zone of the Al-Janoub stadium: “I found that he had taken a lot of pleasure in playing and in playing, it’s true that it’s a bit unusual position but he likes to touch the ball, he makes the effort with and without the ball, it’s a good thing for the team. Didier Deschamps, who knows his son Grizou like the back of his hand, completes the picture:
“It’s not a sacrifice for him, it’s pleasure. If I made this choice with these players, it is because the objective is to put a team which is able to create problems for the opponent. We have created many. It is true that, at times, we have been unbalanced by investments that can be corrected. But it’s new too, we hadn’t done it until now. Luckily it worked…”
Without going so far as to say that the absence of Karim Benzema releases the former Barcelonan, it must be admitted that since the return of KB9 to Blue a year ago, the two have often stepped on Griezmann’s feet and weight. in this team has clearly felt this. With the installation of Giroud at the forefront, who defined himself again on Wednesday as “a striker who plays as a pivot, in deflection, as a fulcrum, a ‘target man’ as they say in England”, the problem does not arise. ask more. And all these little people seem to have already found their place and understood their role.
If this new system, combined with the absence of the Golden Ball, possibly induces a less flamboyant game – which remains to be proven – it is nonetheless very effective on paper and dangerous for the opponent. The coach swears only by the results, if this 4x100m relay team which put balls in the box for Giroud’s head can take him far in the competition, he will gladly sign with both hands. And us with.