The Blues indulge in Uno, we in the game of the seven differences. Four years ago in Russia, Didier Deschamps and his players walked on a rope weighted with TNT bread before their round of 16 against Argentina. Because it was Argentina, obviously, but mostly because they had produced two harrowing matches and an absolute purge, and you had to squint to imagine them with confetti stuck on their beaming faces two weeks on. In Qatar, a relative torpor escorts The french team towards his first cleaver meeting of this World Cup – we even talk about love with Deschamps in a press conference, while a failure this Sunday would undoubtedly mark the end of his adventure. Because it’s Poland, obviously, but above all because the mastery displayed by the major eleven during the first two outings – a good surprise – prevails over the mush of disoriented sparring-partners against Tunisia (0-1) – an unpleasant surprise.
An uncomfortable favorite status
The Blues will travel to the Al-Thumama Stadium in southern Doha on Sunday afternoon with a beacon of favorites in front of the bus. Historically, this has rarely been a comfortable status for them. At the same stage of the competition against Paraguay in 1998 and Nigeria in 2014, it was necessary to be patient before crossing the threshold when they were there when the level rose from the start in the knockout phase: in 2006, Spain had not retired Zinedine Zidane and in 2018, therefore, Lionel Messi had again stumbled in his supreme quest. We can also add the difficulties encountered in overthrowing Ireland at home during Euro 2016.
More contemporary and more unpleasant, they remain on a road trip against Switzerland during the last Euro. That evening, the French learned that you could be world champions, lead by two goals with ten minutes remaining and pack your bags the same evening. Didier Deschamps does not see ” of no interest “ to dwell on the past, but it will perhaps be useful to see the quarters, a march from the assigned objective before flying to Doha.
Football does not respond to an accounting logic
Poland hasn’t exactly been a mountain of emotions so far, qualifying for nothing at the expense of Mexico, and that’s a reason to be wary in this World Cup open to five continents in the round of 16, a first . The outcome of the group stage, with the three teams qualified before the hour (Brazil, Portugal and therefore France) beaten in the last match and incredible scenarios in the final beats of the matches at stake, tipped this World Cup hitherto quite wise in the irrational. It is the nature of football that it does not always respond to an accounting logic.
Take this Polish team: they have only had four shots on target since the start of the tournament but they are still there, when Germany have found the target 24 times and have already left Qatar. Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris finds that she “takes a lot of pleasure in suffering”. Not masochistic either, but very well equipped with Wojciech Szczesny in the cages and Robert Lewandowski to punish. “Lewandowski will put one, like Mbappé or maybe Giroud, predicts Emmanuel Macron in an interview with Parisian. I think we win 3-1! »
The Polish striker of FC Barcelona, deprived of the Ballon d’Or in 2020 and in 2021 when he enjoyed in Bavaria, will not need a lot of ammunition. Kylian Mbappé maybe a little more but when he is launched, he “you need a scooter to catch up with him”, quipped striker Arkadiusz Milik, who recently passed through Olympique de Marseille. Olivier Giroud is slower but he has joined Thierry Henry at the top of the France team’s top scorers.
Record on the horizon? The same question applies to Hugo Lloris, who will equal Lilian Thuram in the number of selections (142), which is not ” not nothing “, he admitted before evacuating his personal case. A record “speaking”, according to Didier Deschamps, too uncomfortable to put words on this kind of celebrations. To completely free oneself from these historical marks, it will be necessary to travel far. A common goal that speaks to them more. There is a star to defend. Now, each game can mark the end of a reign or bring the next one closer.
France-Poland, 4 p.m. (TF1 and beIN Sports)
Composition of the teams
France: Lloris (cap) – Koundé, Varane, Upamecano, T. Hernandez – Rabiot, Tchouaméni, Griezmann – Dembélé, Giroud, Mbappé
Poland: Szczesny – Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszynski – Zielinski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Kaminski – Milik, Lewandowski (cap).
Mbappé worries about Pelé
“Pray for the King” (pray for the King). On the eve of playing a crucial match, Kylian Mbappé had a thought, and a tweet, to Pelé, whose state of health worries the soccer world. The Brazilian icon and the golden boy have met several times, helped by a common sponsor; maintaining mutual goodwill. Pelé was admitted earlier this week to São Paulo hospital for a reassessment of his treatment for colon cancer, diagnosed in 2021. According to a city daily, he is now placed in palliative care, his body not responding more chemotherapy. But the triple world champion gave encouraging news on Saturday, via his Instagram account: “I feel strong and hopeful. »
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France-Poland: the moment of truth for the Blues, in search of a new World Cup
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