For their first two games since their World Cup triumph, France unconvincingly drew 0-0 with Germany but deservedly beat the Netherlands 2-1 at home before another World Cup celebration was held. The French fans were rewarded with a fantastic party with their heroes. Given the recent success enjoyed by this team, it’s understandable Deschamps might not want to experiment with new players. Still, France have such a depth of talent that it’s a shame some players are being overlooked when they could provide competition to the 23 World champions and push them towards more glory.
For these two games, Deschamps kept an almost unchanged lineup. The only two changes were forced on him due to first and second choice goalkeepers Lloris and Mandanda being injured. Given a World Cup celebration was already on the cards, it made sense to pick the same 23, or in this case the same 21. However, for the next target – Euro 2020 – Deschamps could make some minor modifications and introduce some new blood to this already almost perfect team.
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Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City’s record signing at 57 million pounds, looks like a good candidate for a place in the french national team. The center back should consolidate a spot in Guardiola’s defence if he keeps his level of performance in the Premier League. He would be good replacement for Adil Rami, who is the only player to not have played a single minute in Russia. Deschamps does give a lot of importance to the dressing room atmosphere, which Rami contributes massively in a positive way but Laporte could be a long term prospect for France while Rami is at the wrong end of his career. At 24, Laporte can still play for Spain, so it would be a good time to call him up again and lock his future with France. Varane, Umtiti, Kimpembe, Laporte – that would be a world class quartet.
Injured at Arsenal at the wrong time last season, Lacazette only made the reserves list. France went to the tournament with only one real number 9: Olivier Giroud. While Giroud does what his manager asks of him and is the first line of defence for France, this team could do with an alternative. Lacazette has different attributes: he is fast, nimble and a good finisher while Giroud sacrifices himself for his team, has a better hold-up play and is very physical. Deschamps could use another number 9 to compete with Giroud and provide a completely different option to unlock tight games.
This one is less obvious than the other two. Don’t get me wrong, Martial is a top talent. However, he has not been playing to the level we know he can perform for club and country recently. The wealth of attacking players in both teams is certainly not helping him. His versatility could come in handy for Deschamps. Martial can play as a number 9 and on both wings, his preferred one being the left wing. For example, he could be the left forward in a 4-3-3 with Griezmann as a false 9 and Mbappe on the right.
See also: 50 World Cup players came from France
Thauvin and Lemar have been in the World Cup team but both have barely seen any playing time. Experimenting with Lacazette or Martial or even Coman and Ben Yedder might open up other avenues for Deschamps. All that being said, you don’t change a team that’s winning. I think Deschamps will abide by that and it’s not a bad path to take but I do expect the occasional change of personnel due to a drop in form, a lack of playing time at club level for some players or to avoid complacency.
One thing we all can agree on is the main man himself, Didier Deschamps, can be trusted to take this team, unchanged or not, to Euro 2020 glory.
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