Tchouaméni against the pessimism of France | Sports

The atmosphere at the France team camp is so thick that Kylian Mbappe He must have thought that nothing could make it worse when last Monday he refused to participate in the photo session scheduled between the squad and the sponsors, alleging in private that the brands that the national shirt advertised violated his principles of healthy living or overlapped with the brands that they paid him. With two months to go before the World Cup in Qatar, the attitude of the Paris Saint-Germain striker not only caused a crisis in the board of the French Football Federation. He alarmed the Government of the Republic and sowed unease in a growing sector of the locker room that looks at Mbappé as a strange agent in the picture of helplessness left by the absences of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante the spiritual leaders of the 2018 champion.

Things look so bad for France that the confirmation of the young Aurélien Tchouaméni in the Real Madrid starting team has been received as the big news of the week.

Sinking at the bottom of Group A of the League of Nations, the French team has not been able to win a single one of the four games played to date. This Thursday they host Austria at the Stade de France and on Sunday they take on Denmark at the Parken Stadion. The last appointments before the World Cup force him to score points to avoid relegation in a context of maximum improvisation. Kanté injured and Pogba operated on, the midfield that was the engine of the conquest of the last World Cup needs a total reconstruction. To get it, Didier Deschamps, the coach, does not have a more reliable piece than the young Tchouaméni.

“Aurélien contributes a lot in a very particular register”, celebrates Deschamps. “Although he uses it in a defensive role, he has technical abilities that help him project in attack. He is complete. He is young but asserts himself. He doesn’t have the experience that Paul Pogba or N’Golo Kanté might have, but he has the potential. Also, in his head, he has the necessary maturity.”

Deschamps does not stop evoking the absent leaders. Pogba and Kanté gave consistency to the defense and meaning to the attacks of their team during the World Cup in Russia. Under his influence, everyone raised the bar. Without them, the team lost its tide. The Chelsea midfielder has suffered more or less recurring injuries for years. Pogba broke his meniscus and underwent surgery at the beginning of September, after denouncing his brother for blackmail in complicity with a criminal gang that robbed him at gunpoint. Neither of the two midfielders, virtuosos of positioning and organization, will arrive at the World Cup in full condition, if they arrive. The helm of the team with the most resources in Europe has suddenly been left in the hands of a 22-year-old boy. A seasoned player, very strong legs, especially in long runs, visually attractive with the ball, but not always quick to make decisions under pressure.

Tchouaméni barely has two games in the Champions League and has never lined up with France far from the protection of the elders. But, considering the cast of interiors called (Camavinga, Guendouzi, Veretout and Fofana) he has been the most used by Deschamps.

“A mild climate”

“Aurélien forces veterans not to rest on their laurels,” the coach announced in March, when his imagination suggested a healthy internal competition on the way to Qatar. His words echo in the void six months later. Without internal competition, with a gap that does not close after Benzema’s recall, without the veterans, and with an increasingly interventionist and less empathetic Mbappé, the French team is distracted by ontological and ethical debates around the marketing agreement that sabotages the PSG star.

The conflict took on national prominence when Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports, called the FFF directors to a chapter to side with Mbappé and claim the right of the players to veto the signing of advertising contracts. After meeting with the minister on Monday, Philippe Diallo, vice president of the FFF, knelt down. “She wants us to engage in a constructive dialogue with the players to find a solution,” Diallo said; “so that the preparation for the World Cup takes place in a calm climate that is favorable to a good sporting performance of the team”.

The spirit of the selection is a matter of government interest in France. From Clairefontaine they maintain that with reason but without hope. “The players no longer have the energy to even fight,” says an FFF employee, who nostalgically evokes the fights that marked the concentration in the last European Championship.

Pessimism seizes France. The nail in the stone wall is thin as a pin. His name is Aurélien Tchouaméni.

You can follow EL PAÍS Sports in Facebook Y Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.