France boss Didier Deschamps looks to youth, skill and human qualities as he names his 23-man squad for the World Cup, and plays it smart to ensure there’s no need for a helicopter at the training camp this time round.
Deschamps went on television to reveal his squad that will go to Brazil. He followed what other national teams have done, submitting an extra list of seven players who could join the squad should injuries rear their ugly head.
Smart move because it means no one will leave the French squad by helicopter this summer as they did in 2008, when the players that did not end up in Raymond Domenech’s final squad were airlifted out of the training camp.
Looking at the list, it clearly feels like Deschamps has picked players not only for their skills but also for their human qualities.
Everything was already decided about the goalkeepers and the third choice, Mickaël Landreau, who will end his career immediately after the World Cup, will bring his wisdom and experience to the group.
As for defenders, this World Cup belongs to youth! Deschamps’ choice of centre-backs is among the youngest in the history of Les Bleus for a World Cup tournament, although they are all already playing for top teams. Even though some of them haven’t had the best season of their careers, they’re ready for this level of competition.
When it comes to midfielders, the substitutes look like the only weakness. Rio Mavuba hasn’t played with Les Tricolores since 2007. Meanwhile, Sissoko has had a disappointing season and Grenier has a lot of work ahead of him to be ready in time following his injury. It all looks academic, though, because it is unlikely any of them will be able to get into the starting three-man midfield.
Deschamps’ decision to drop Samir Nasri doesn’t come as a surprise. Despite his huge talent, it is now obvious that his personality is not compatible with living as a group for up to six or seven weeks.
Youth is also prominent among the attacking players with the inclusion of Griezmann – an echo of Aimé Jacquet in 1998 when he picked Henry and Trezeguet. This should help the team prepare for the Euro 2016 to be held in France, and the next World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
The extra list is a positive sign for the seven players chosen. Schneiderlin and Cabella are allowed to dream of the Euros in France. Perrin and Trémoulinas appear as reliable options, while Gonalons and Lacazette know they could well have been in the 23. They will definitely defend the world title four years from now in Russia!
The 23-man squad: Lloris, Mandanda, Landreau – Mangala, Sakho, Koscielny, Varane, Sagna, Debuchy, Evra, Digne – Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi, Mavuba, Grenier, Sissoko, Valbuena – Benzema, Ribéry, Giroud, Griezmann, Rémy.
The 7 reserves: Ruffier, Cabella, Gonalons, Schneiderlin, Trémoulinas, Perrin, Lacazette.