The Blues offered a cocktail of experience and fatal recklessness to the Ukrainians (7-1), Wednesday in a friendly in Saint-Denis, with Olivier Giroud exemplary captain for his 100th selection of a young guard with long teeth at the image of Eduardo Camavinga, a prodigy scorer at 17. In his garden at the Stade de France, where the love affair with the Blues began in 2011, Giroud donned the captain’s armband at the same time as the costume of the second top scorer in history, which he wears snatched from the former owner Michel Platini with a double in the first period (24th, 34th).
For this warm-up round before receiving Portugal from Cristiano Ronaldo, Sunday in the League of Nations, Didier Deschamps had aligned a team mainly of “hairdressers” (substitutes) and young shoots, supervised by the dean Steve Mandanda (35 years) in goals and the irremovable Giroud, therefore, associated with Anthony Martial in attack. Excluding Giroud and his 34 years old, the Blues present at the kickoff had a little more than 16 selections on average on the clock, a figure that the young Dayot Upamecano (21 years old), Houssem Aouar (22 years old) and Eduardo Camavinga ( 17 years) have pulled down sharply.
The jewel of Camavinga
The young promises got off to a good start in the October sprint which the coach is facing, with his three matches in one week. They were able to restore the confidence granted to the boss of the world champions, at the same time as delighting the thousand spectators (FFF partners, supporters’ clubs and player families) present in the stands. “I am very satisfied. It allowed me to manage the whole group, to distribute the playing time“, savored Deschamps on TF1, delighted to have seen his players” be effective “despite the rotation.”There are a lot of positives“.
Upamecano has indeed shown itself to be more solid than during its first two outings in September, Aouar has multiplied the initiatives for its first appearance in the France group and Camavinga has given a little more depth to its image of phenomenon, of a first goal in the blue jersey which launched the offensive festival.
As a symbol, the Rennes midfielder took advantage of a Giroud header pushed back by the keeper to become, at 17 years and 10 months, the youngest French goalscorer of the post-war period. And what a goal! With his back to the Ukrainian cage, he lodged the ball in the nets of a subtle return (9th), tearing a broad smile from the coach.
Mandanda injured, Pogba back
Deschamps’ satisfaction was prolonged with the double of his favorite striker, a long shot curled from the left (24th) then a diving header (34th) by exploiting a shot from Aouar repelled by the keeper. The young OL midfielder showed himself to his advantage, a month after a positive Covid-19 test which had forced him to give up a first summons. He tried his luck from afar, found the small net (45th) and applied the corners with application, like the one which led to the goal against his camp of Mykolenko (39th). Not everything was perfect despite everything, especially in the second half when the blue machine was somewhat seized up.
The Ukrainians, although weakened in recent days by a slew of injuries and Covid-19 contaminations, regained strength and confidence by Tsygankov, scorer (53rd) a minute before Oleksandr Zubkov found the right post by Mike Maignan (1st selection), successor to Mandanda’s break, physically hampered. In the first period, the OM goalkeeper also experienced fears, but he managed to win (21st, 41st, 42nd) in front of the men of Andriy Shevchenko, the former Golden Ball at the head of the “Zbirna” since 2016.
As for Deschamps, the meeting will have had the merit of offering playing time to the newcomers, relaunching substitutes like Corentin Tolisso, scorer (65th), and launching after the break Raphaël Varane, Wissam Ben Yedder and Paul Pogba , not seen in the blue jersey since June 2019. Also entering in the second half, Kylian Mbappé (82nd) and Antoine Griezmann (89th) went there with their goal. The Blues now have four days to prepare the revenge against Portugal, their executioner in the final of Euro-2016 in the same Stade de France.