Hello everyone! Today’s article is a special piece. It has been written by a friend of the site from The Goal Effect. Please check out his site, it is fantastic and takes a whole new perspective on the beautiful game. This article will be a sneak peek as to what his website looks like. I’m sure you will enjoy it! I also wrote a piece for his site so feel free to go read that over on his page. With that being said let’s begin, enjoy!
Winning A World Cup Might Be Just The Beginning…
La vie est belle! And yes, life is beautiful, especially if you are a French football fan. Your country’s national team won the 2018 World Cup , and some of the hottest names in the football world are Frenchmen such as Griezmann and Mbappe. When success becomes a reality, everything seems wonderful just like la vie en rose of which Edith Piaf sings in her renowned song. However, to avoid cutting the cake or lighting up the fireworks before the party starts, it might be wise to stop and remember what happened after France’s last two successful generations… do you remember?
In 1998, Zidane led les Bleus to their first ever success in a World Cup. France’s dominance was confirmed two years later when they won the 2000 Euro Cup against Italy in a dramatic final game. However, two years after that… the not-so-powerful French squad was kicked out at the World Cup group stages after scoring an impressive amount of goals: zero. Hold on, the roller coaster gets better. Four years later, again led by a fantastic Zidane, France made it to the 2006 World Cup final. There they lost to Italy in a penalty shootout. Surely what happened in the 2002 World Cup was just an accident, right? Well, in 2010 World Cup, France was again kicked out at the group stages, but hey, this time at least they scored one goal.
So, given France’s recent sway in the last couple of decades switching between heaven and hell, are there real reasons to be so euphoric if you’re a French football fan? Football’s capricious trend says “no”, but logic and critical thinking says “yes”. The thing is that repeating successes in football is very difficult. This is mainly because changing from one generation to another is painful and time-consuming. Here’s where France might have an advantage, because in reality, the French squad might not need a generational change yet. In fact, the French generation that lifted the World Cup in 2018 had an average age of 25 years. If we would keep the exact same squad for the 2022 World Cup, it would mean that the French team’s average age would be 29 years old, which is the same average they had when they reached the final in 2006 against Italy.
The Difference Makers
France’s youth might be the key for their success in the near future. However, it can’t be the only argument to foresee victories ahead. The amazing young players of today are amazing today, but who can guarantee they will be amazing tomorrow? However, France seems to have a good life insurance in case the career of its current football stars suddenly take a negative turn. That “life insurance” is the depth of France’s squad. I mean, France’s current situation seems to be that of a rich man who drives a Ferrari, but has a Lamborghini parked in his garage “just in case” he needs it for “emergencies.”
Giroud, a striker (in case you forget), played the World Cup and scored zero goals. But players like Benzema and Lacazette were home watching the World Cup on TV. Clement Lenglet is a central defender who is only 23 years old and gets a good amount of gameplay in his team FC Barcelona, and yet his name was rarely mentioned as an option to at least be sitting on the bench during the World Cup. And do you know Antony Martial? Yes, that forward who plays for Manchester United (not just any club) was not selected to be part of the French team that went to the World Cup.
Can Anything Stop France?
I could go on and on giving more examples such as the ones given in the previous paragraph. You get the point: France has talent to spare. Sure, the French team that lifted the trophy in Russia might not play football as aesthetically as did Spain in 2010 or Brazil in 2002, but let’s be honest, who cares? Belgium played fantastic football in Russia, but they couldn’t beat France in the semi-finals. After all, in the history books, you’ll read about the winners, and France’s name already appears twice in the sacred book of World Cup history. What comes next depends on Deschamps’ ability to manage the abundant resources with which he can work. This is football, and what makes football special is its unpredictable nature, so we can’t assure what the future holds, but one thing is certain: for the moment, la vie est belle!