After France defeated North African side Morocco – the first ever team from the continent to reach the Semi-finals. the defending champions have become only the third team overall to reach back to back FIFA World cup finals. France are the first team since Brazil (1998-2002) to reach the finals in 2 consecutive editions. France are also the second European nation to achieve this feat since Germany in 1990.
Argentina 🆚 France
The #FIFAWorldCup Final is SET! 🇦🇷🇫🇷
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 14, 2022
It looks like the Champions curse is well and truly over, something that France started and France ended. The curse was one of the reasons why no one believed if they can go all the way to the Final at Qatar. But France have also produced an upset in this tournament filled with uncanny events as they go against Argentina on Sunday in a bid to retain the World title.
Despite all odds against them, Didier Deschamps’ men have done it. Before the tournament began, Les Blues suffered a lot of injury setbacks, in fact more than any other team in the tournament prior to the World cup. A total of 8 players who were in form and influenced results consistently in favor of the clubs they played for, were ruled out of the entire tournament.
Among those players were those who actually helped the team in 2018 to end a 20-year drought. The list of injuries included players like Christopher Nkunku, Prenzel Kimpembe, Lucas Hernandez, Karim Benzema, Mike Maignan, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.
After Benzema’s exclusion, for the first time in the tournament’s history, the Ballon D’or winner was not going to be a part of the World cup. Really intriguing. And still France reached the Final.
There were several factors why they were able to do so and mainly 3, so lets dive right in.
1. Squad Depth – Despite Injuries and casualties, Didier Deschamps had more than enough strength in his bench. Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante in France’s midfield last season was the best in the tournament. There were doubts if France could cope up but where are the doubters now? France had a grown up youngster like Aurelim Tchouameni, Youssef Fofana, experienced Adrien Rabiot and Eduoard Camavinga. Deshchamps mainly trusted Rabiot, Tchouameni and Fofana. rabiot and Tchouameni even got on the score sheet during France’s journey to the Final. In the defense, Kimpembe was missing. No worries because France have Ibrahima Konate, Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane and Lucas Hernandez. All 4 of them have formed a tremendous defensive back line but they have conceded in every WC match except for the Semi-final last night. They showed up when it was needed and now another 90 minutes of resilience and they shall re-write history. Karim Benzema’s absence did not hurt them either because Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud took the charge. Both of them achieved something or the other in this tournament. The former is currently the highest goal scorer and leading the race for Golden boot alongside Lionel Messi while Giroud has overtaken Thierry Henry to become France’s all time top scorer. Positives after Positives for Les Blues.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 14, 2022
2. Didier Deschamps’ mind blowing tactics – The second factor that ensured France’s entry into the Final was Didier Deschamps’ sharp strategies. The 2-time World champions under the 1998 World cup winner has adopted a unique style of play. They will not come to hurt you every time but whenever they will get the chance, France will make sure the opposition regrets it. They have a patient approach in every attacking build up alongside the mastery of certain individuals. These two have been decisive. France will slow the game down while looking for path breaking passes and gaps. Once they find the right passage, their finishers pull the trigger till the job gets done. Deschamps has mostly trusted the 4-2-3-1 formation in this tournament and it has paid off. The only time he adopted a 4-3-3 system was when France lost against Tunisia in the group stages. With only one out and out striker, France deceived every opponent because the team up front would only focus on stopping Mbappe, which is okay but with Ousmane Dembele running up from right to left and Antione Griezmann finding the right man at the right moment, France have a lot more than just an attacking mindset.
3. Veterans gaining their form back – Last but not the least, certain experienced and worn out players hitting their form was another reason why France have been able to go all the way to the tournament’s last match. There is a saying “Form is temporary but Class is permanent”. Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Adrien Rabiot and Raphael Varane are examples of it. All of these players were not having the best of seasons for their clubs but Deschamps backed all of them because of their experience. No one can forget the 2016-2019 Griezmann. In this tournament the Atletico Madrid forward has provided 3 assists – highest in the WC. Dembele, Rabiot and Varane have also played their responsibilities very well and not its time for one last stretch.
This man has been 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 👊
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 15, 2022