The weekend of Didier Deschamps in 2020 was very difficult. Every Saturday or Sunday, the French coach wants to know how many of his players are playing for his clubs, but the problem is that there are too many candidates to form a team that he and his assistants are trying to watch! Occasionally they have to make do with lit roles, although they try to catch as much action as possible every weekend.
While many of the world’s top teams are in transition, Desham knows the luxurious depth of his French team. France is so talented that it is not only the reigning world champion, but also a natural favorite for Euro 2020. There is no doubt that the French system and the local media now feel that Les Bleus has a unique opportunity to build a football dynasty that could be even better than the great generation of 1998-2000 and even match the Spanish domination from 2008 to 2012.
France, which will meet Portugal at the League of Nations on Saturday — Stream LIVE, 14:45 ET, on ESPN+ (US only) — to have all the cards in hand to continue their success at the World Cup in 2018.
Two years ago, France was the second youngest country in Russia with an average age of 25.6 years, slightly behind Nigeria (25.5 years). Only Brazil won the 1970 World Cup as part of a younger combined team. Some players weren’t even in their prime… not even in their prime… like Cailian Mbappe or Presnyel Kimpembe. In the future they will become stronger individually and collectively, more experienced, more mature and more used to winning.
— UEFA League of Nations: Portugal/France, 14.45 ET, Saturday 14.11, ESPN+ (USA)
The defeat in the Euro 2016 final against Portugal was a great learning experience for Deshamps and his players. They took a lot of positive things with them on their way to 2018 and worked tirelessly on the things that didn’t go well, such as their defensive strength, their control over the game and their lack of tactical versatility. By the end of 2020, France will have more tactical means at its disposal than ever before. Deschamps has many possibilities: Over the past 18 months they have played in apartment 4-4-2, in diamonds 4-4-2, in diamonds 4-3-3, in diamonds 3-4-3, in diamonds 3-4-1-2. No position – with the exception of the right defender, perhaps only with Benjamin Pavard and Leo Dubois – is full of competition for seats.
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The dashboards are very smart and have always been opportunistic. When he replaced Laurent Blanc in 2012, he did not inherit a very talented team. With the exception of Karim Benzema, Frank Ribery and Hugo Lloris, Les Bleus were in fact average at the time. But for the new head coach it was no problem, if there was a problem at all, it gave him an empty sheet of paper on which he could build his team and line-up as he wanted. And he was well aware of the potential of the players in the French youth squad at that time.
The number of talents that would emerge was exceptionally high. Then there was a large generation of M-19s in France who were ready to shine. One year later, in 2013, they won the Under-20 World Championship and six years later five of them won the real World Championship with Deschamps: Paul Pogba, Rafael Varanet (although he stopped in 2013 due to an injury), Samuel Umtiti, Florian Thauvin and Alphonse Areola. In the same summer of 2013 the U19’s reached the Eurofinale with Benjamin Mendi, Anthony Martial, Adrien Rabiot and Eimerick Laport. Deschemps watched both races, even attended some of them and knew that the next generations would do well too.
Fault! The file name is not specified. French coach Deschamps is confused by the wealth. There is enough talent with good management to dominate world football for a generation. FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images
In the U-17 team, which became European champion in 2015, Deyot Upamecano leads the way. In the U19’s, which have won the European Championship UEFA 2016, France have a certain Mbappe in the attack – he had already been observed by Deschemps, who was warned by people at his former club in Monaco that the Parisian was special. Marcus Thuram was also part of this team. The Kingsley Team, Lucas Hernandez and Pavard also played their part in the previous U19 team.
The list goes on and on.
France was (and still is) full of talent in all age groups and positions, but they needed a coach who would bring really young stars into the senior national team. Dashboards are very suitable for this purpose. His male management skills are fantastic. Thanks to his background as a high-performance player, his friendliness and his communication skills, players trust him. He also knows how to put them in a better environment to succeed. Since 2012 he made his debut in France for a remarkable number of 53 players! It’s an incredible amount and it also shows the depth he has. The players who have played in recent international matches are Eduardo Camavinga (18), Upamecano (22) and Husem Auar (22).
Even after the distribution of all these burdens, the Deschamps still had other players. Discover the French U21 team this month: There is Auar and Upamecano, plus Jules Kunde, who has been fantastic with Seville and has not yet joined the A-team, and Wesley Fofana, who brilliantly defended Lester when he needed it. Moussa Diabi (Bayer Leverkusen) and Amin Guiri (Nice) will soon be part of the team.
The list is long, and if you only look at the position of the central defenders, it will be even more impressive. All these years: Varane and Umtiti (born 1993), Aymeric Laporte and Kurt Zuma (1994), Kimpembe and Clement Lenglet (1995), Hernandez, Pavard and Abdou Diallo (1996), Kunde and Upamecano (1998), Ibrahim Konaté, Dan-Axel Zagadu, Malang Sarr, Evan N’Dica, Boubacar Camara and Jean-Claire Todibo (1999).), Fofana (2000), William Saliba and Benoit Badiashil (2001) and Tangier Kouassi (2002).
Deschamps is under contract until 2022 and until the World Championship in Qatar. If all goes well, he can stay even longer, until 2024. He will still be 56 years old when he renews his contract, and given what he has already achieved, he has a good chance to do even better.
Mr Deshamps and his staff are already deeply immersed in the planning for the euro, which has been postponed until next summer, but he knows how promising the future is. With his talent, the pressure will be on, even if he’s not in the game. The 2-0 defeat to Finland in a friendly match at the Stade de France on Wednesday showed that there is no room for complacency and that there is still a lot of work to do. But Deshamps expects his players to grow stronger as the euro approaches and in the years and tournaments that follow.