FRANCE have their eyes on including the European Championship title to their World Cup crown this yr, however first they start their defence of the trophy they received in Russia three years in the past as qualifying for the 2022 match in Qatar will get underway on Wednesday.
Coach Didier Deschamps has caught with the core of the squad that lifted the trophy in Moscow in 2018 for a demanding triple-header of matches because the go to of Ukraine on Wednesday is adopted by a protracted journey to play Kazakhstan on Sunday after which a stop-off in Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 31.
Finland might be France’s different opponents in Group D, and Les Bleus have to prime the part to make certain of their place in Qatar on the finish of subsequent yr.
They might do with a superb start, even when Deschamps will not be delighted with the calls for dealing with his gamers this week.
“I am not going to hide that in terms of organisation, having three matches with two away from home makes things more complicated. We all have to put up with it,” stated the person who has been in cost of France for nearly 9 years.
Only 14 members of his 26-man squad for the start of qualifying went to the final World Cup.
However, the one regulars from the Russian marketing campaign lacking are Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, whose profession has been stalled by accidents, and midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who has gone off the radar since shifting to MLS.
Some of those that have emerged or returned to the reckoning solely serve to underline the power in depth out there to Deschamps.
Everton’s Lucas Digne and Real Madrid’s Ferland Mendy are glorious choices at left-back, Clement Lenglet of Barcelona is a brand new contender in central defence and Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman provides high quality in assault.
Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot’s worldwide profession appeared over when he refused to go on the standby checklist for the Russian World Cup however he returned to function closely in final yr’s Nations League marketing campaign.
Benzema nonetheless banished
The elephant within the room stays Karim Benzema, who has 10 objectives in his final 9 video games for Real Madrid however remains to be sidelined by France after his alleged position in a plot to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena in 2015.
“I don’t understand it, you don’t understand it, there are many people who don’t understand it,” stated Real coach Zinedine Zidane final week.
Deschamps, although, is not going to choose Benzema and as a substitute has religion in Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and the ever-reliable Olivier Giroud.
With 44 objectives for his nation, Giroud is closing on the file of 51 held by Thierry Henry.
“When you look statistically at what those three represent, that is what allowed France to become world champions,” Deschamps stated this week.
France will even play within the Nations League finals this yr, however the delayed Euro 2020 is what issues most.
“These matches will serve as a yardstick for us going into the Euro,” stated goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris.
France beat Ukraine 7-1 in a pleasant final October however their opponents have been weakened by Covid-19 infections then and the tie on the Stade de France additionally evokes recollections of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Ukraine beat Les Bleus 2-0 within the first leg of a decisive play-off, however France rallied to win 3-0 within the return and Deschamps’ squad have probably not appeared again since.
“We need to get a result and we know the importance of starting well in qualifying campaigns. It is always a bit of an ordeal,” admitted Lloris. – AFP