Euro 2016: Didier Deschamps Got French Team Selection Right!


It took a bit of time but France finally put Albania to the sword and came out the game as 2-0 victors. The hosts of Euro 2016 are now safely through to the knock-out stages with a game in hand.

Much has been made of French coach Didier Deschamps decision to drop two of his star players; Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann from yesterday’s starting line-up.

I really cannot understand the fuss.

Fair enough if France hadn’t secured the win, I’d get it. I would also understand more if either of the two players had had a terrific opening game against Romania, but they didn’t. Now they weren’t terrible but they also weren’t that good or effective. They were outshone by Dimitri Payet and N’Golo Kante who showed great skill and passion.

Deschamps decided to give Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial starts instead. Both are just twenty years old, surely it’s good giving them a run out against Albania, when the game isn’t vital and help settle them into the competition. That way, if they are needed later on in the tournament then they’ll be more equipped to handle the occasion.

Many will say that yesterday’s starting eleven didn’t work-out and up to a point that is true but lets not forget that it also didn’t work with Griezmann or Pogba in the Romania game. The fact is that football is played over ninety minutes. The French team works hard to breakdown teams and the rewards seem to come when they change tactics and personnel in the last twenty or so minutes.

Also let’s give credit to both Albania and Romania here. They both defended extremely well and even attacked the French. They didn’t freeze under the pressure and lie down to the home side.

Now both Griezmann and Pogba came on and had an impact on the game. Griezmann stuck away the opening goal with three minutes remaining with a well executed header, while Pogba had a hand in the build up of the two goals for France.

Hopefully this rest will be just the tonic these two stars needed and they can kick on and have great tournaments from here on in.

Plus lets not forget that Deschamps was captain of the French World Cup winning side in 1998. During that tournament manager Aimé Jacquet rotated his attacking players throughout. It keeps things fresh and keeps the squad on their toes.

I expect both Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann to be back in the starting line-up for the final group game against Switzerland. If they play a key role in that match, then I think Deschamps will feel vindicated that his selection policy is working well. I also expect the French boss to make more changes to his side and bring in a few other squad players and give them some minutes on the park.

As I have already said France have won the game and that is all that matters at this stage. I am sure Didier Deschamps will be hoping that they can start winning without such dramatic late winners but he clearly has the belief that in his squad he has enough depth to change things around and get a winner from somewhere. That is surely a positive!

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