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Are France no longer as good as they were during the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

France lost 2-0 to Finland in Paris
France lost 2-0 to Finland in Paris
ANALYST
Modified 12 Nov 2020, 14:37 IST
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A lot can change within a few years and in the last two years, very few national teams have captured the attention of the world like Les Bleus.

France completely dominated the 2018 FIFA World Cup and made light work of every opponent that came before them. In the end, they lifted the golden trophy following an emphatic 4-2 victory against Croatia.

Since that tournament in Russia, Didier Deschamps’ side has played 23 games, including qualifiers for the Euros, the UEFA Nations League and international friendlies.

In that period, France have impressively won 17 of those games, drawing three times and also losing thrice. This is a phenomenal record for any team, but have Les Bleus been as good in recent years?

While the results point to a side that has become a winning machine, France’s performances in recent times haven’t been too convincing. Most of their recent wins have come by fortuitous circumstances rather than deserved.

The France that played at the World Cup in Russia had little weaknesses, with their counter-attacking play mesmerizing opposition teams. However, it appears most of the players are currently out of form.

Raphael Varane is no longer as reliable as he used to be and has become very prone to mistakes. His defensive partner during the World Cup, Samuel Umtiti, can’t even get into the team anymore.

N’Golo Kante has also lost some of his attributes which made him an all-action midfielder, while Paul Pogba only plays well when the whole team is in good form.

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In attack, Antoine Griezmann is currently a pale shadow of the lethal forward he used to be two and a half years ago. And while Kylian Mbappe remains one of the best forwards in the world, he has not particularly enjoyed good games for France recently.

France’s dip in form was highlighted on Wednesday when they fell to a surprising 2-0 defeat at the hands of Finland.

Two first-half goals from Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari were enough to see the visitors grab a huge win in Paris. In this game, Les Blues struggled to get their passes right, while their defence was equally shaky.

Thankfully for France, the Euros have been postponed to next year. However, the two-time World Cup winners will have to get their old form back by then or risk not making it deep into the tournament.  

Published 12 Nov 2020, 14:37 IST
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