The France team spent a final test run, Tuesday June 8, at 9:10 p.m., against Bulgaria with the hope of maintaining their confidence intact and avoiding any injury, a week before their entry into contention for the ‘Euro.
The enclosure of the Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, will sound less hollow than in recent months: 5,000 spectators are invited, the French Football Federation (FFF) having obtained an exemption from the curfew and health restrictions, with a day ahead of the new stage of deconfinement. Armed with a health pass justifying a vaccination or a negative Covid-19 screening test result, 800 caregivers, 500 students and 450 firefighters, police officers and gendarmes will thus have the opportunity to encourage the world champions , before serious matters.
The morale of the Blues is high, soon two weeks after the start of the preparation for the European Championship (June 11 – July 11). The reinstatement of Karim Benzema after more than five and a half years of absence went without a hitch, the Covid-19 screening tests did not hold any bad surprises, the first friendly match was a formality, Wednesday in Nice , against the Welsh (3-0), and the training sessions in Clairefontaine (Yvelines) are all more joyful than the others. Nothing seems to disturb, so far, the selection of Didier Deschamps, not even the status of big favorite of the Euro that all observers in Europe attribute to him.
“We will be expected with this status of world champion, everyone will want to beat the France team. It’s clear, precise, and we are preparing to meet all these challenges ”, launched the captain, Hugo Lloris, Monday, presenting confidence and prudence as the pillars of success: “At a very high level, if we do not show humility, we can pay dearly for it”, did he declare.
“Have time to play, find benchmarks”
Even if he “There will be a respondent”, according to Didier Deschamps, Bulgaria – stuck in the 71e place in the FIFA ranking – will have nothing to do with Germany, the first formidable opponent, on June 15 in Munich, or the Portugal of Cristiano Ronaldo, another ogre of Group F of the Euro. We must therefore continue to ramp up before the big meeting, fine-tune the automatisms and build up a rhythm. “The objective is not to gauge oneself, it is to have playing time, to find benchmarks”, warns Lloris. But “The date that is in our heads is June 15 against the Germans. In the approach, there will still be other things: adrenaline, this part of the unknown ”.
With Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, the « triangle d’or » needs minutes on the pitch and Deschamps has already reiterated that this second preparation match cannot be “A workforce review” as was the first. The coach notably recovers a centerpiece, N’Golo Kanté, who arrived late (like Olivier Giroud and Kurt Zouma) after his success in the Champions League with Chelsea. But the best player in the C1 final came back tired and only resumed collective training at the end of the week.
After an extended season and a shortened preparation, freshness will be essential and the management of the Tricolores will probably not want to take any risk in the face of the physical glitches which affect the group a few days before the start for Munich. Kingsley Coman, Adrien Rabiot (ankle) and Lucas Hernandez (knee) are thus uncertain, as confirmed by the Basque technician on Monday, without however noting their package. The first two trained separately Monday evening at the Stade de France, unlike the third.
As for Olivier Giroud, lacking rhythm after an end of the season spent on the bench at Chelsea, he did not give up his ” goal “ to hold the Euro and will need to find sensations, in his garden in Saint-Denis where he scored 22 of his 44 international goals.