Placed in Group A with Denmark (11th), Croatia (16th) and Austria (34th), who it will face consecutively in this first four-game series from June 3-13, it intends to justify its status as a favorite even as this pace, interrupted at the end of the season by the League of Nations, a recent competition that is not yet unanimous, has raised some voices in European football, on the side of club coaches, such as Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp, and some players such as Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne.
June’s four games: France v Denmark in 3rd in Saint-Denis; Croatia v France on 6th in Split; Austria – France on the 10th in Vienna; France v Croatia on the 13th in Saint-Denis.
Hold it hold it
As defending champion, winner of the 2nd edition at the Final 4 in Turin and Milan last October – victory in the semi-final against Belgium (3-2), then in the final against Spain (2-1) – the team France, at least, is not satisfied. “President Le Graët came to see us in Clairefontaine, he wants us to get this trophy again, that’s the goal,” recalls Guy Stéphan.
Premiere without Deschamps
The coach, who learned from Clairefontaine on Tuesday morning of the death of his father, Pierre (84), has been with his family in the Basque Country since then. He will therefore not, for the first time since heading the Blues, be sidelined in this game against Denmark. It is his deputy Guy Stéphan who takes over. But the two men called each other several times, and the faithful assistant evokes a continuity.
Benzema, from the Champions League to the Blues
Six days after winning his 5th Champions League with Real Madrid, Karim Benzema returns to the Stade de France wearing the blue jersey. Absent from the final rally due to injury – which allowed Olivier Giroud to replace him with great success by scoring two goals against Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa – he will be eagerly awaiting. Alongside Kylian Mbappe, who has been out on the water this season, and Antoine Griezmann who has just come out of a complicated exercise at Atletico, he has become an asset since his return to the Blues a year ago. He also scored 9 goals and won the Nations League. You want to see him again soon.
The Blues aim for the Big 8
After seven consecutive wins, a feat not seen since the historic run of 14 successes between March 2003 and February 2004, the Blues are still hungry. They are going for 8th in this enclosure of the Stade de France where they have not played for almost a year and their last preparatory match against Bulgaria (3-0).
Mbappé in the footsteps of JPP
Author of at least one assist in each of his last five games for the French team, Kylian Mbappé has also scored (9 goals) every time in these five games. According to Opta, he could become the first French player since Jean-Pierre Papin (7 games, 10 goals between September 1990 and October 1991) to score in six consecutive games.
They don’t leave each other anymore
The French and Danes, who faced each other in the League of Nations next Friday at the Stade de France and September 25 in Copenhagen, before meeting in Qatar on November 26 in the group stage of the World Cup, will no longer leave each other. † “It is an underrated team, despite being 11th in the world, which is better than Germany, Uruguay and Sweden. A semi-finalist team of the last Euro, and who easily won his qualifying group for the World Cup “remembers Guy Stéphan, who calls up a robust opponent, but who can also offer game forward, pressing. This first of the three France – Denmark from however, the year is not considered a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.
The number: 19
The French team has not lost any of its last competitive home matches (14 wins, 5 draws). The latest defeat dates back to the Euro 2016 final, lost (0-1 after extra time), against Portugal.
“During this period, competitions are added to us, but in October we have one less meeting. With the World Cup in November – December, this inevitably causes changes. I don’t mind saying that the League of Nations is not a big competition, but it is a chance to win a trophy with your country, we had this luck, shared with our supporters in Milan, and that counts in an international career. † †
Hugo Lloris, goalkeeper and captain of the French team.