On paper, the France team was the favorite of this Euro 2021. But the problem with the paper is that we quickly roll it into a ball and then throw it in the first bin. Football – even more that of selection – is also painful, always boasting about this uncertainty capable of transforming you from Danish tourists (1992) or Greek sans-rank (2004) into European champions. Few countries have stretched their dominance over two or even three major competitions in a row. For the latter case, only Spain succeeded with two Euros and a World Cup won between 2008 and 2012.
For the Blues, this dynastic dream will wait. On Monday, the world champions fell from above against the more coherent Swiss and decided to send their football complex to the bottom of Lake Geneva, after a stunning knockout round in Bucharest (3-3, 4 tab to 5). An accident happens. Even the best. Except that in this case, the exit of the road could be guessed.
It was enough to be attentive and to observe the last two group matches. Caviar as a starter then pâté and stale bread afterwards, the Blues started with a very controlled victory against Germany (1-0) before continuing on a sluggish draw against Hungary (1-1) and a another barely more convincing against Portugal (2-2).
But I promise, the beautiful porcelain tableware was reserved for the cleaver matches. Some promises. Against Switzerland, the French have instead released the cardboard plates and the tactics that go with it. At a time when there are only culprits, the little game is to know who of Deschamps or his managerial players pushed for this 3-4-1-2, neither done nor redone. If the coach assumes the elimination – it is the coquetry of the moment of the coaches, to take the failure for their apple to better defuse the criticism -, he specifies that this device was intended to put the “Attacking trio in the best possible conditions”.
Republic of players
Between the lines, you think you can guess the story. He, the pragmatic, he, the cautious, advance to have sought to build his team around the attacking trio Griezmann-Mbappé-Benzema, indebted in his eyes and around which he balanced but also unbalanced his team. So when an Antoine Griezmman says in videoconference that his preference is him “It is in the axis” after the draw against Hungary, we can guess that he has already negotiated the fat with Deschamps before. Moreover, “Grizou” then evolved in support of the attackers, with relative success.
You have 62.48% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.