Last summer’s uninspired performance in the 1-0 defeat to Portugal as hosts of the European Championship will forever be remembered as a low point in the trophy laden history of the French Football Federation. Although the success of the tournament alone went some way to healing the pride of a nation whose society had been the victim of so much heartbreak across the 18 months previous, the taste of a final defeat was a distinctly sour note for the French people to have to end upon.
Given the high expectation and abundance of talent within the squad, failure to secure victory in the final was ultimately an inexcusable result for the home nation. Whilst many may have expected that Didier Deschamps’ head would roll in the post-tournament inquisition, the World Cup winner has instead managed to reignite a sense of heightened expectancy in French football as he puts his faith in the youth of the nation’s football system – and sites like bigfreebet.com are already factoring the French in as favourites in Russia next year.
The depth of the talent within the nation’s ranks was made clear for all to see as an experimental Les Bleus XI dismantled one of their biggest rivals. A ten-man France responded to a 2-1 deficit to secure an unlikely victory over England – the Three Lions inadequacies laid bare as they failed to come to terms with the French dynamism and energy as the enthusiasm of youth eclipsed a porous back line.
What will have impressed the manager even more than his side’s attacking verve is the strength of character shown in their refusal to fall victim to an adverse situation following the harsh dismissal of Raphaël Varane. With a comedic last minute error from Hugo Lloris handing Sweden an unlikely victory against a misfiring French first team last Friday, Deschamps’ young guns have certainly given the manager plenty to consider when the next set of international fixtures come around.
The sudden emergence of the starlets has been stark – Borussia Dortmund’s prodigious winger Ousmane Dembélé has only amassed seven international caps whilst Kylian Mbappé, Benjamin Mendy and Thomas Lemar, the trio of starlets from a galvanised AS Monaco, boast a mere 13 international appearances between them. Add the fact that the likes of Kurt Zouma, Anthony Martial, Adrien Rabiot and Corentin Tolisso are all still yet to hit their 23rd birthdays and the extent of France’s strength in depth becomes unmissable.
Deschamps explains that French football’s culture of trusting burgeoning talent has enabled the development of this rich group of players: “With all young players, the more they play, the more they learn. All beginners need as much time as possible to prove themselves,” adding “French football has always had a good reputation for training the youth, but this depends on the championship we have here which is more open to younger players.” As France look ahead to next year’s World Cup finals, this fearless crop of youngsters will be raring to show that they’re ready to deliver on the world stage. Expect Deschamps’ new wave to be a compelling force come the summer’s tournament.
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