Injuries, Mbappe clash with FFF, Pogba trauma and more

Injuries, Mbappe clash with FFF, Pogba trauma and more

French coach Didier Deschamps is not worried. It’s not part of his personality; he’s more of a pragmatic and positive guy, always trying to see the bright side of things. However, even he must be wondering what is going on right now?

Two months before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where her team will try to become the first defending champion to retain her title since Brazil in 1962, France is going through turmoil like never before. Even compared to the history of French football, which has seen many tasteless stories in the past, this is unprecedented. Everything that could go wrong right now is going wrong, and there are so many sources of turbulence happening all at once.

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First there is the atmosphere around the team. On Monday, Kylian Mbappe continued his fight against the French Football Federation (FFF) over the players’ image rights agreement. The FFF (and its president, Noël Le Graët) had first announced in June that they would modify the agreement under pressure from Mbappé, who had already complained about it in March, but nothing was done. Mbappe therefore announced on Monday that he was refusing to take part in Tuesday’s activities and photo shoots with national team sponsors.

The panic was so intense that an emergency meeting between Le Graet, Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Hugo Lloris and Deschamps was called, and a solution for image rights was found. The agreement will be reviewed and modified to give players more leverage and compensation. But as Mbappe won his battle with the Federation, backed by the team captains, he exposed the cracks within the ‘Blue House’.

Le Graët, whose relationship with Deschamps is very strong, is also in the eye of the storm. French media have accused him of sending inappropriate text messages to female FFF employees and covering up or failing to act on numerous incidents within French football in recent years.

Le Graet, who is 80 and still has two years left in his role as FFF president, refuses to step down, but the tension around him is also indirectly mounting around Deschamps and his players. The head coach summed it up himself last week: “The atmosphere is heavy.”

Over the past few weeks, stories about Paul Pogba have also surfaced in the media. The Juventus midfielder is currently under police protection in Italy after recent revelations about a group of his childhood friends trying to extort money from him. His own brother, Mathias, is being held in prison awaiting a bail decision along with four other men – all known to Paul – after being charged with extortion.

Pogba is injured with a torn meniscus but the incident has a negative impact on him and the France team. His teammates are worried and Deschamps hopes his No.6 can recover from his knee injury in time to be fit for the World Cup, but also that he can overcome the trauma of the threats and intimidation he has had. suffered. has experienced. No one knows what kind of Pogba will return to Deschamps and France.

There are also a lot of minor injuries accumulating within the squad that is expected to compete in Qatar. Deschamps could field a whole team with the players currently absent, and which team it would be: Lloris in goal; Ibrahima Konate, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe and Theo Hernandez in defense; a midfielder made up of Pogba, Boubacar Kamara, N’Golo Kante and Adrien Rabiot; with Karim Benzema and Kingsley Coman up front. And there would also be submarines.

At least six of those players – Lloris, the Hernandez brothers, Kante, Pogba and Benzema – are part of Deschamps’ strongest XI. They haven’t all come out with long-term problems, but their absences are a blow given that France’s next UEFA Nations League games – against Austria on Thursday and Denmark on Sunday – are the last two. before the start of their World Cup campaign. against Australia on November 22.

It has been a nightmare for the France head coach, who has not seen his players since the last international break in June, when his father died suddenly and Blues were terrible in his absence. (They lost to Denmark and Croatia at home, and drew Austria and Croatia.) France are bottom of their Nations League A Group 1 with two points from four games and no can’t face the humiliation of being relegated.

The remaining squad are still the elite, of course, with the likes of Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Aurelien Tchouameni, Jules Kounde and Varane in training. France also boast impressive depth, with players in fine form like William Saliba, Mike Maignan and Olivier Giroud, as well as promising young talents like Randal Kolo Muani, Youssouf Fofana and Benoit Badiashile, who have been called up for the first time.

However, even among the players gathered at Clairefontaine there are concerns, whether in terms of fitness – like Antoine Griezmann being stuck playing less than 30 minutes a game at Atletico Madrid – or confidence (Christopher Nkunku struggles to find form with RB Leipzig.) Things are tough for Deschamps and for France at the moment, but as the coach told his players on Monday: the only way is up.

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