French National Team – List of 23 – Giroud, Saliba, Upamecano: who convinced Didier Deschamps this weekend?

With three days to go before one of the biggest games of their lives, a good dozen men played more or less in style this weekend on European pitches. The challenge, capitalized: to convince Didier Deschamps to take them to Qatar to defend the title of world Blues champion. Some have gone to great lengths to force their fate, others may have ruled out Doha forever. While Christopher Nkunku, Adrien Rabiot or Théo Hernandez have shone but have already secured their place, get closer to the money-time of those who still don’t know what the future holds for them.

they took a risk

A series

What is the real level of Rabiot? “It took another dimension this season”

04/11/2022 at 15:36

  • Olivier Giroud: a vain masterpiece?
His weekend: Another stroke of genius, a fantastic goal to give AC Milan victory in Serie A in the 89th minute, as he had done on Wednesday in the Champions League. Have you ever been so hot in the club? The question is valid. Kicking him out, stupid, doesn’t change much: Giroud is in the shape of his life.

That changes? Paradoxically, not much. Didier Deschamps knows better than anyone the qualities of his center forward and it is no longer his performance that will tip the balance. The coach only has one obsession: Will Giroud be able to get through a competition on the bench without flinching? This weekend brought no answer…

  • Ousmane Dembélé: essential?

His weekend: A new goal at the end of a small slalom, in a dumbfounded defense from Almería. The former Rennais has legs of fire at the start of the season and his body finally leaves him alone. His accelerations are daggers and if he didn’t always make the right calls on Saturday, the differences he creates are still staggering.

That changes? In favorable resignations, Dembélé could have definitively composted his ticket on Saturday at the Camp Nou. In this form, difficult to do without. Especially since Didier Deschamps has always had a soft spot for him.

  • Jordan Veretout: the ace up his sleeve
His weekend: The former Nantes player continues to gain momentum in Marseille. A true fighter in the middle, he took the rhythm imposed by Igor Tudor and established himself as the best player in the clash against OL (1-0). Decisive passer in the only goal of the game, Veretout loomed over the Vélodrome.

That changes? While Mattéo Guendouzi started on the bench and Eduardo Camavinga is less animated at Madrid, this match for Veretout is an argument of strength in a very open sector after the injuries of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté.

  • Lucas Digne: a goal (and an injury) that changes everything?

His weekend: Always so constant at the club, but also in the national team, Digne, back from injury, added a sublime direct free-kick against Manchester United on Sunday. The former Lille punctured the screen but was injured… Distrust.

That changes? In his long-distance fight with Ferland Mendy, who will play for Real Madrid on Monday, Digne could have scored a decisive point. This duel of linings with Théo Hernandez is perhaps the tightest on the list to come. Digne prepared him in the best possible way, unless his muscle injury ended the debate.

  • Moussa Diaby: waking up too late?

His weekend: Another double, this time against the leader, Unión Berlín, for the former Parisian Titi. With six goals and four assists he continues to rack up the stats.

That changes? Absent from the last list, Diaby appears to have missed out on his first World Cup by being too neutral when the coach called him up. But this brace is a reminder of his effectiveness in the Bundesliga. In case of failure, there could be recourse, but it is difficult to imagine it within 23.

  • William Saliba: another master class

His weekend: William Saliba likes shocks. He flew over the match against Chelsea, with another clean sheet (0-1) and a man of the match title. He continues, week after week, dazzling a Premier League that discovers him this season. Defensive leader of a team that nothing can resist, the former Stéphanois is marching towards the English championship and his new demonstration only consolidates his new status.

That changes? If Deschamps still had doubts, they could vanish this Sunday. Saliba stands out more than ever as a substitute for Jules Koundé and Raphaël Varane although he is missing a benchmark game in the France team.

  • Dayot Upamecano: still sovereign in the club but…

His weekend: the most valued in Munich by Bild, behind Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, Dayot Upamecano once again offered a performance full of serenity on the grass of Hertha Berlin. Undisputed in the Bavarian defence, he has delighted Julian Nagelsmann since the start of the season.

That changes? In competition with Saliba, Upamecano suffers as much from his many unfortunate experiences in the Blue as from the ex-Marseille’s immaculate season. But, like this Saturday, he will have done everything necessary at the club to qualify for a place in Qatar.

  • Boubacar Kamara: here it is again

His weekend: He played just 12 minutes in Aston Villa’s 3-1 win over Manchester United, but that means a lot. The former Marseillais, who had long feared a package, is fit and returns at the best moment of the discussion after a month and a half off after a knee ligament injury.

That changes? All. Even if Kamara seems to be lagging behind the competition (Eduardo Camavinga, Mattéo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout). But the combined packages of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante open up the field of possibilities for him.

What is the real level of Rabiot? “It took another dimension this season”

  • Steve Mandanda: Still Standing

His weekend: It had started very badly since he offered the premiere to José Fonte with one hand. Then the Rennais threw everything back and offered an absolutely miraculous point to the Britons who owe her a great sail.

That changes? This game symbolizes Mandanda’s successful start to the season. But his return to the national team depends on the form of Mike Maignan. The ex-Lille package is not yet formalized but he has not played for Milan…

Leave it and Mandanda during LOSC – Rennes (1-1)

Credit: Getty Images

  • Alban Lafont: a game that feels good

His weekend: If Nantes lost in Reims, Alban Lafont shone by multiplying the parades. He kept the canaries alone in the match and only gave in from the penalty spot (1-0).

That changes? This game is good for him while his start to the season is still less brilliant than last season. Summoned in September, he had benefited from packages from Lloris and Maignan. But he still has to be preferred to Alphonse Areola, who did not play this weekend.

  • Ibrahima Konaté: the sense of time

His weekend: For his first Premier League game in a month, Konaté shone on Tottenham’s pitch, not least during an excellent first half. Above all, he showed his physical solidity after a big knee injury and only 21 minutes in the league this season. He is back and at a great level.

That changes? Many things. He really comes back at the right time. If Didier Deschamps decides to expand his selection beyond the 23 names, he will be a serious candidate for a right-back or wing position where only Koundé, Varane and Saliba seem to be ahead of him.

They missed their chance

  • Matteo Guendouzi: arrest

Your weekend: The people of Marseille have been hit for a few weeks. This Sunday, for the match against Lyon, Igor Tudor chose to do without him at the kick-off before launching it with 29 minutes remaining. Rather he succeeded in bringing him back, but the OM midfielder is not in the shape of his life.

That changes? The game is so close in midfield that everything counts. A priori, the Marseillais has a bit of an advantage over Jordan Veretout and Eduardo Camavinga but he is not indisputable in Blues either.

  • Wissam Ben Yedder: replacement at the worst time

His weekend: Back in force since the end of September after a timid start to the season, Wissam Ben Yedder started on the bench this Sunday in Toulouse (0-2). The ASM striker had to settle for 14 anonymous minutes of play in his old stadium.

That changes? When he has to burn to convince the coach, WBY is silenced. Absent from the September appointment, he is already late on the way to Doha and this weekend has not increased his options to go. On the contrary. Long considered the lining of the centre-forward, Ben Yedder sees his status crumble.

Wissam Ben Yedder

Credit: Getty Images

  • Kephren Thuram: degraded status, dream gone?

His weekend: One minute last week, on Sunday the 26th against Brest, Thuram lost his starting stripes in L1 and Nice won (1-0) without him.

That changes? He could have intended to be part of the debate because his talent, his potential and his experience with the Espoirs are arguments that speak to Didier Deschamps. But his bad step in Nice almost condemned him.

  • Tanguy Ndombele: crumbs

His weekend: If he relives this season, Tanguy Ndombele is still a brace, certainly effective but a brace nonetheless. The former Lyonnais only played 26 minutes in Napoli’s victory against Atalanta (1-2).

That changes? In between, there are places to take, but can Deschamps trust a Ndombele with fluctuating playing time? Called up last March, he is in the game but might regret not playing more.

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