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HomeSportFrance preaching focus as it nears World Cup repeat, but confidence abounds

France preaching focus as it nears World Cup repeat, but confidence abounds

AL KHOR, Qatar — It had turn into so uncommon for World Cup holders to supply even a reliable displaying — not to mention efficiently defend their title — on the subsequent competitors that it was simple to put in writing off France’s probabilities earlier than the 2022 occasion in Qatar had even begun.

Even informal World Cup followers knew the historical past: on the three tournaments earlier than this one, the champions went residence within the first spherical. So when Les Bleus arrived in Doha final month on a dispiriting 1W-3L-2T run and minus two linchpins (central midfielders N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba) from their all-conquering 2018 squad, plus the reigning Ballon d’Or recipient because the world’s greatest participant (Karim Benzema), current historical past appeared destined to proceed.

As a substitute, after beating England 2-1 on Saturday on objectives by Aurélien Tchouaméni and Olivier Giroud, France appears destined to turn into the primary nation to win consecutive World Cups since Brazil did it in 1962.

“I am sorry, however you are getting forward of your self,” French coach Didier Deschamps stated afterward when requested about the opportunity of repeating. “We will the semifinals. We’re getting nearer to the ultimate.

“Previously, although, the world champions did not all the time do effectively within the subsequent World Cup, and we have managed to beat that problem,” he added with a realizing smile.

In fact, the longtime Les Bleus supervisor, who 4 years in the past grew to become simply the third man to hoist probably the most coveted trophy within the sport as each a participant and coach, is aware of that France took an enormous step on Saturday. This was one of the best England crew in many years, and regardless of being outplayed for lengthy stretches at Al Bayt Stadium, the champs dispatched them with relative ease. France will now play Morocco on Wednesday (2 p.m. ET, FOX and the FOX Sports app) for a spot within the Dec. 18 remaining.

“We knew it was going to be troublesome from begin to end,” stated Tchouaméni, who opened the scoring simply 17 minutes in on a blistering long-range strike but additionally conceded a slipshod penalty that Harry Kane transformed to cancel it out. “We all know that we have not received something but.”

Aurelien Tchouameni makes a STATEMENT after scoring for France within the 2022 FIFA World Cup

It was a typical chorus from the French gamers post-match. That is a part of the rationale this facet appears totally different. There’s a quiet confidence brewing, and it is starting to percolate on the excellent time.

“The extra you win video games, the stronger you get,” Deschamps stated. Then, as if catching himself veering from the messaging that has gotten his crew right here, he added the qualifier. “You should not neglect that you want to be humble although. We will not get carried away.”

France is not getting carried away, which is exactly what makes them so harmful. Lionel Messi and Argentina often is the bookies’ new favourite to win this World Cup after Croatia eradicated Brazil on Friday, however do not guess towards the French. They’ve each momentum and know-how. Based on Giroud, there is a acquainted feeling contained in the French camp.

“It jogs my memory of the success of 2018,” he stated. That is a daring assertion. One may argue that he is incorrect. Reality be informed, this France crew appears higher in nearly each method.

Transformed striker Antoine Griezmann, who assisted on Giroud’s winner, has stepped into the two-way midfield function that Pogba occupied and added attacking swagger. The 22-year-old Tchouaméni has been a extra athletic, extra dynamic, extra offensive model of Kanté. Imposing goal ahead Giroud, who famously did not rating throughout France’s run to glory on the final World Cup, has stepped in for Benzema seamlessly and now has 4 objectives in 5 video games.

Olivier Giroud makes an INCREDIBLE game-winning header

Les Bleus did not even want Kylian Mbappe to beat England; the main scorer at Qatar 2022 was marked out of the match by Kyle Walker and a rotating forged of different English defenders. Talking of defending, the 2022 French squad can also be higher at that, as they confirmed Saturday by beating again wave after wave of Three Lions assaults.

It wasn’t an ideal efficiency, to make certain. Theo Hernández‘s inexplicable physique verify on Mason Mount shortly after Giroud’s purpose practically price them dearly, however Kane sailed his second spot kick of the evening over Hugo Lloris‘ web with six minutes of normal time to go.

“Sure issues maybe we may have accomplished higher,” Deschamps stated. It is nonetheless exhausting to quibble with the end result. And whereas they’re nonetheless not fairly there but, these French gamers have the look of a champion. With their sternest check but aced, they know the chance to assert their very own little bit of historical past is there for the taking.

“Our mindset is what permits us to win,” proper again Jules Koundé stated. “We’re the place we needed to be, however there are nonetheless two extra steps left.”

England vs. France Highlights

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Doug McIntyre is a soccer author for FOX Sports activities. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a employees author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities and he has lined United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre. 

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