France has wrapped up its first two games of this year’s UEFA Nations League. Picking up wins in both games, they stand second of their group behind defending European and Nations League Champions Portugal. Les Bleus will play their next two games on Oct. 11 and 14.
After a very unconvincing 1-0 win against Sweden, France did show some improvement in their 4-2 win against Croatia. However, Les Bleus have much to improve on. France is the defending World Cup Champions, but Les Bleus are far from being the team that hoisted its second World Championship in Russia two years ago.
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) September 8, 2020
France had to play both games with Paul Pogba since Pogba tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after manager Didier Deschamps named the squad for the matches against Sweden and Croatia. Kylian Mbappe, who scored France’s only goal in their win against Sweden tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, resulting in him being sent home.
While it was difficult for two of France’s very popular and important players to not be available, there is still no excuse for France as there’s more than enough reinforcements. The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante all of whom were part of the team that won the World Title in Russia were there. Griezmann and Giroud would each score in France’s win against Croatia. Griezmann now has 31 international goals and that places him alongside Zinedine Zidane as France’s fifth all-time leading scorer. On the other hand, Giroud scored his 40th international goal, allowing him to become only the third player to score 40 goals for France. Giroud only needs two goals to become France’s second-highest all-time leading scorer.
Anthony Martial, who plays for Manchester United, appeared in both games, his first appearance for Les Bleus since 2018. Martial is looking to be part of the squad for next summer’s Euro tournament. Martial started in the match against Croatia and his efforts allowed him to be named Man of the Match. Adrien Rabiot also made his first appearance since 2018, playing the entire game against Sweden. Ferland Mendy would also appear in both games, as a substitute against Sweden and a starter against Croatia. These players must gain experience as their services may be needed in the future. In France’s case, it’s about keeping plenty of options at the table. Options with the necessary skills and experience.
Dayot Upamecano is one of the newest faces for France. The 21-year-old center-back currently plays for RB Leipzig. He started in both games, playing the entire time. In addition, he scored his first international goal against Croatia. At the moment, he’s reportedly linked with a move to Manchester United. The future appears to be very bright for him both internationally and domestically.
Eduardo Camavinga is one of the other newest faces on the team. At 17 years of age, Camavinga is the youngest player to debut for the French National Team since 1914. Camavinga officially made his debut coming in as a substitute against Croatia replacing N’Golo Kante. Playing for 27 minutes, Camavinga managed to amass a 95.5 pass completion percentage, winning two tackles, and creating a scoring chance. Camavinga, who plays for French Ligue 1 side Rennes, is already drawing comparisons to Paul Pogba. In addition, he’s already caught the attention of Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid.
17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga is the youngest player to make his debut for France since 1914 👏 pic.twitter.com/j3UoYGKTx7
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 8, 2020
What Does France Need To Work On?
When it comes to Les Bleus, mentality and team chemistry is always a cause for concern. France is known for being a team that has the talent, but not the focus. Lacking a winning mentality and concentration constantly leads to disappointing and/or unconvincing results. France needs better preparation and concentration for their next games. They’ll certainly need it for Euro 2021.
France’s passing accuracy is fairly well. Ball possession needs improvement. France’s allowing of both Sweden and Croatia to have longer ball possession is risky. Les Bleus are lucky that both opponents could not take full advantage of it, but France knows that they won’t always be so lucky. France needs to work on taking and maintaining control of the game in all aspects. The most important thing is that France needs to find ways to keep advantages in their favor.
A team with good balance is the best thing for France. Solid play from both the attack and defense is what allows France to win games. When their mentality and team chemistry are at the right place and right level, France can play as a well-balanced team.
France is playing Portugal in their next game. Against Portugal, they’ll be no room for error and sloppy play. France needs a fully healthy squad that’s ready to play.
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