November 30, 2021

for the replacements, a golden opportunity to shine

This Finland-France looked like a trap for the Blues. In the coldness and the night of Helsinki, the players of Didier Deschamps could have, in the event of disappointment vis-a-vis Kazakhstan last Saturday, to have to play a perilous final away in this last match of group D. ‘will not be the case this Tuesday, November 16.

After its very large victory against Kazakhstan (8-0), France avoids such a scenario and obtained its qualification for the next World Cup (November 21-December 18, 2022). This last match of the year 2021 against Finland remains important in the eyes of Deschamps and his staff, but also for some players who could take the opportunity to shine.

Léo Dubois, to continue to exist

He may have missed only two gatherings since his first selection in June 2019, Léo Dubois is not indisputable in the France team. In recent days, the Olympique Lyonnais side has seen Kingsley Coman put pressure on the holder at the right piston position, Benjamin Pavard. Far from reassuring for the captain of OL who could find himself number 3 in the hierarchy.

Take part in a World Cup? It’s a goal but it’s not for now, there are things to do before“, Dubois explained on the FFF website a few days ago, a sign that the 27-year-old side knows that his place with the Blues is not guaranteed. Despite a remarkable entry into the final of the League of Nations against the ‘Spain (2-1) in October, Dubois must take advantage of this match against Finland to show himself.

Unless Deschamps decides to try the Coman experience again so that the latter can familiarize himself with the position. Otherwise, the defensive sector of the Blues begins to stabilize. Clément Lenglet and Kurt Zouma, with the upcoming returns of Raphaël Varane and Presnel Kimpembe, will have to fight to return to the France team even if they could play tonight.

Aurélien Tchouameni, to overthrow the hierarchy

Aurélien Tchouaméni during France-Kazakhstan, November 13 at Parc des Princes (JEAN CATUFFE / JEAN CATUFFE)

Before the match against Kazakhstan and in view of his first selections with the France team jersey, Aurélien Tchouameni had everything to accompany N’Golo Kanté in the midfield at kick-off. In the absence of Paul Pogba for this rally, Deschamps finally chose not to demote Adrien Rabiot by establishing him in place of the Monegasque environment.

With what Adrien (Rabiot) has been doing with us for a long time, it seemed normal and legitimate (to establish him)“Deschamps explained on Saturday night after the match. Tchouameni will therefore have to do more to overthrow Rabiot and settle as number 3 in the hierarchy. His start to the season is more than encouraging and the player of AS Monaco, who has played the last six games of the Blues, will once again have to perform well against Finland.

Mattéo Guendouzi, to (finally) discover the international level

Mattéo Guendouzi in training with the France team during the League of Nations, on October 8 in Turin (JEAN CATUFFE / JEAN CATUFFE)

Saturday evening, at the Parc des Princes, Mattéo Guendouzi was the only player of the France team whistled by the 45,000 supporters. It must be said that the midfielder of Olympique de Marseille had been talked about a few days earlier at a press conference on the Clairefontaine side: “I would have preferred to play at the Stade de France. The Parc des Princes is the stadium of PSG“. In this context, Didier Deschamps did not wish to offer Guendouzi his first selection.

It could be for tonight. Including his first summons in September 2019, Guendouzi was called five times, without ever entering the field. Frustrating for the 22-year-old midfielder who should be starting. In the mind of the coach, Guendouzi took over Jordan Veretout, present in the group for this rally but only after replacing Paul Pogba. Guendouzi will have the opportunity to restore the confidence of Deschamps and take a few steps ahead of Corentin Tolisso or Eduardo Camavinga.

Moussa Diaby, to be more reliable than Dembélé

Moussa Diaby after France's victory against Kazakhstan, on November 13 at the Parc des Princes (JEAN CATUFFE / JEAN CATUFFE)

His first goal in Blue is getting closer. After hitting the post in Ukraine on September 4, Moussa Diaby experienced intense emotion at the Parc des Princes on Saturday night when he scored the French team’s sixth goal against Kazakhstan, served on a plateau by Kylian Mbappé. A goal finally refused for an offside position but which will push Diaby to achieve the same performance against Finland.

His place with the Blues, Diaby knows that he currently owes it to the physical problems of Ousmane Dembélé. The latter, who was injured with the France team during the last Euro, has only played one game since the start of the season. So Diaby takes advantage of the situation. “It’s a very good thing, and it hasn’t always been the case, that there are players who bring freshness and dynamism off the bench. (…) The France team needs a player like him“said Deschamps yesterday at a press conference. Excellent with Bayer Leverkusen, the 22-year-old winger pushes to convince the coach to continue to call him. After playing 46 minutes in three caps, Diaby should have more time to game tonight.

Wissam Ben Yedder, to (re) get started

Wissam Ben Yedder during France's victory over Kazakhstan on November 13 at Parc des Princes (JEAN CATUFFE / JEAN CATUFFE)

Among the players mentioned in this list, Wissam Ben Yedder is perhaps among those most likely to start against Finland. Embarrassed by pain, Karim Benzema found himself holder on Saturday at the Parc des Princes after participating in only one collective session last week. Tonight in Helsinki, Ben Yedder could therefore replace the number 19 of the Blues by starting the match on the lawn.

A golden opportunity for the Monegasque, who has only played 55 minutes in his last five selections. These last months, Ben Yedder is well in the group but struggles to impose himself and show his qualities. His history in the France team is struggling to take and the 31-year-old striker has scored only twice in 16 caps. Deschamps seems to maintain his confidence in him while an Amine Gouiri knocks on the door of the Blues, and an Anthony Martial is still prowling. It’s up to Ben Yedder to be present.