A little over three months after a World Cup final lost to Argentina (3-3, 2-4 on pens), the France team will return to the lawn of the Stade de France this Friday. Against the Netherlands, the Blues will take part in their first meeting counting for the qualifications for Euro 2024.
To do this, Didier Deschamps has called up 23 players, including three new ones (Brice Samba, Jean-Clair Todibo and Khephren Thuram) but also several absentees such as executives Hugo Lloris, Raphaël Varane and Steve Mandanda who have retired internationally.
Goalkeeper: a natural starter, a new and a “regular”
With the loss of a reliable goalkeeper like Hugo Lloris, captain of the Blues culminating in 145 selections, a record, the cards will necessarily be reshuffled. While Steve Mandanda imitated the Tottenham goalkeeper, two places are freed up in the cages of the France team. However, in the mind of Didier Deschamps, the new holder is obvious: it will be Mike Maignan.
Injured in a calf and forfeited for the World Cup, the AC Milan goalkeeper achieved excellent performances in Lombardy and left with a head start on Alphonse Areola (5 caps), the oldest of the goalkeepers summoned by Didier Deschamps, his first cap dating from 2018.
Impressive this season in the goal of RC Lens, Brice Samba celebrated its first convocation last Thursday. At 28, he has the credibility to shake up the hierarchy in the near future if he is to continue his momentum with the Sang et Or. He is more like a double for the moment.
Right side: two professional central defenders
One shone during the 2018 World Cup, the other passed him in the hierarchy this winter in Qatar. Banned during the World Cup, Benjamin Pavard, performing with Bayern Munich this season, was recalled by Didier Deschamps. Revanchard, the defender who will turn 27 next Tuesday hopes to come back in front Jules Kounde. Installed in the defense of FC Barcelona, the player trained in Bordeaux has established himself in the right flank of the defense of the Blues in recent months.
Central defenders: three Globalists and a new one
While Raphaël Varane has retired from international football after a trying World Cup, Didier Deschamps will also have to deal without Presnel Kimpembe, seriously injured in the Achilles tendon with PSG. These two absences gave Wesley Fofana the opportunity to be called up for the first time. Injured, the Chelsea defender also had to forfeit and was replaced by another neophyte: Jean-Clair Todibo. Impressive for several months with OGC Nice, the former Barcelona player represents a very credible long-term option.
Already lined up at the opening of the last World Cup, the hinge made up of Dayot Upamecano et Ibrahima Konate could be renewed on Friday. Knowing each other well for having been associated with Espoirs and RB Leipzig, the Bayern Munich manager and the confirmed holder in Liverpool are complementary.
Axel Disasicalled up to replace William Saliba, also affected with Arsenal, could grab some playing time during this rally but the AS Monaco defender does not, a priori, start in the shoes of a holder despite his three appearances at the last World Cup.
Left side: an indisputable holder emerges
At the left-back position, Theo Hernandez should surf on his globalist winter during which he was the indisputable holder following the serious injury of his brother Lucas against Australia (4-1). Performing with AC Milan, he offers more certainty thanEduardo Camavingaused punctually in selection then at Real Madrid in this position, but whose favorite place is in midfield.
Backgrounds: spoiled for choice
Still deprived of N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba, Didier Deschamps can still rely on a quality midfield. Present in Qatar in the shoes of a holder, Aurelien Tchouameni was convincing. Despite an international future in suspense after being named vice-captain of the Blues behind Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann remains an essential cog in the heart of the game, he who continues to perform well with Atlético de Madrid.
Juventus cadre, Adrien Rabiot was surely one of the best French people at the last World Cup and logically applies for a starting place in the eyes of Didier Deschamps. Called for the first time, Khephren Thuram hopes to confirm the promises made with OGC Nice, while Youssouf Fofana is feeling slack after its presence in Qatar this winter. Jordan Veretout is pretty solid with OM in 2023 and could do well.
Wingers: Mbappé and French from Germany
While he particularly enjoys playing with a pivotal striker, Kylian Mbappe feasted at the last World Cup, multiplying the differences and finishing top scorer with 8 goals, after a heroic hat-trick in the final.
Behind him, Moussa Diaby, author of 8 goals in 24 Bundesliga games, is a pleasant alternative. At 23, the Bayer Leverkusen winger will have to make a good impression if he wants to settle permanently in the France group. Second top scorer in the Bundesliga with Mönchengladbach (12 points), Marcus Thuram can evolve into a point or on one side. Kinglsey Comana solid starter with Bayern Munich, could take advantage of the absence of injured Ousmane Dembélé to accumulate playing time.
Attacker: a duel Kolo Muani – Giroud
New Bundesliga star with Eintracht Frankfurt, Randal Color acquired a new status in the France team after its remarkable and remarkable entry in the final of the World Cup. His season with 16 goals and 12 assists does not leave anyone indifferent.
On his side, Olivier Giroud is still there, even if he thought about an international retirement. While he scored three goals in Qatar, becoming top scorer in the history of the Blues (53 goals), the center forward of AC Milan will (still) have to resist the ambitions of the new generation, now embodied by Kolo Muani.