A sports saying goes that great players make great teams. The Blues did him honor, Tuesday, September 7, in Lyon. Mired in a litany of five consecutive games without a win, the French team, easy winner of Finland (2-0), regained some of its splendor, Tuesday, September 7, in Lyon. And it owes it in large part to two men: the darling of the Lyon public, Karim Benzema, and the darling of French supporters, Antoine Griezmann.
Two emblematic ovations rewarded them. The first when “Grizou” – author of his 40e and 41e goals in Blue, joining a certain Michel Platini – was replaced in stoppage time. The second when Karim Benzema – decisive passer born in Lyon and raised in Bron, a few kilometers from the stadium – came to greet the crowd of his admirers after the encounter.
“I am very happy with my performance and that of the team. We wanted to show that we had not lost anything, Griezman said. We have to keep this state of mind, this desire to give everything on the pitch and try to hurt in front. ”
Before this sixth match in Group D of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and after two draws against Bosnia-Herzegovina (1-1) and Ukraine (1-1), the question was legitimate: were the Blues still capable of to put their imprint as world champions on opponents well within their reach?
If the content is not yet perfect, this service provides a positive response. Attractive in sequence, the France team managed to pack the match, especially in the second half.
The 57,057 Lyon spectators were quite ready to be enthusiastic and support a possible French renaissance. The presence of the local child among the eleven incumbent serving as additional motivation.
His acclamation with “Karim, Karim, Karim” punctuated the pre-game, the game and the post-game. The Brondillant got a taste of the enthusiasm that a possible return to his roots would generate, he who left OL for Real Madrid twelve years ago.
Qualification in sight
In a group where the designated rival, Ukraine, is treading water – five draws in five games – this third victory in six games gives the Habs air: by having won half of their games, and without forcing their talent , they are seven points ahead of their Ukrainian and Finnish dolphins (but they have respectively one game and two games less).
The captain, Hugo Lloris, had warned the day before at a press conference: “Everyone must feel responsible. The problem must be resolved tomorrow and not wait until November. ” He was heard.
Criticized (rightly) before the meeting, the Blues foresee qualification for the Qatari meeting next year. Confused for three months, changing tactical system as shirt, Didier Deschamps, can again oppose success to his detractors.
It must be said that the double world champion, as a player and then coach (1998 and 2016), often lacked arguments lately. He can also congratulate himself on having regained some offensive impetus. “ I was not satisfied with the first two games, there it is more in line with what we are able to do. The service is of a good standard ”, he analyzed after the meeting on Tuesday evening.
“Two footballers who speak the same football”
However, despite obtaining five corners in ten minutes, the French footballers initially seemed to fall into their pitfalls: a false rhythm and a reluctance to press the opponent. But thanks to its two stars of the attack, the grayness of the tricolor game has dispersed as if by magic.
The two Madrid players – the first from Real, the second from Atlético – do not communicate with the hands but with the feet. And certainly a lot with their heads. Their complicity did not escape Didier Deschamps: ” Today she was excellent because they are two footballers who speak the same football. “
This technical alchemy seemed natural although it was slow to prove itself, the fault in particular of a Euro completed prematurely in the round of 16, with a defeat against Switzerland. Tuesday, she broke into broad daylight, like the action of the opening of the score at the 25e minute of play: Karim Benzema is on the pass and “Grizou” at the conclusion of a subtle outside left foot.
Happy not to be behind in the score as in their last five outings, the Blues were content with this minimum for a while. On returning from the locker room, ambition had returned. Karim Benzema erased two opponents to find Léo Dubois on the right side whose discount allowed Antoine Griezmann to control and score a double with a cross shot (53e, 2-0).
Integrate Mbappé into the duo
The Mâconnais – whose first loves as a young supporter were Lyon in the stands of the former Stade de Gerland – confirmed his role as a barometer of the good form of the Blues. Sparkling during the Russian World Cup, extinguished during the last Euro, he is more than ever the one who gives his color to the France team.
With the help of Karim Benzema, the man with the bun found the support of choice. “We may have found a system that suits us better, it’s the coach who will decide. We were strong, we won beautifully ”, noted the double scorer of the evening.
It now remains to integrate into this duo the third thief, Kylian Mbappé, absent against the Eagle Owls for injury. At the Euro, this extraordinary and long-awaited trio had failed. While, without him, his two attacking friends have shown all their complicity, the Parisian will have to find his place alongside his elders.
This harmony will be one of the key projects for Didier Deschamps to hope to retain the world title on the shores of the Persian Gulf at the end of 2022. “If I could, I would have had better have Kylian. It would have brought us so much if not more quality, wanted to reassure the coach. There is the complementarity of a duo, a trio, Kylian has his place in this trio. There are also some adjustments to be made, compared to the animation on the side. ”
The requirement does not stop at the offensive sector. The coach will also have choices to make in defense. The two Hernandez brothers – Lucas and Theo – could help him a lot. The good performance of the cadet at the position of left side, starting against Finland, would shift his elder in the axis of defense, his favorite position. One year before the World Cup, the Blues still have work to do, but they have put the book back on the job.