World Cup 2022: why Tunisia-France will not change Didier Deschamps’ plans for the rest of the competition

World Cup 2022: why Tunisia-France will not change Didier Deschamps’ plans for the rest of the competition

The recipe that allowed Les Bleus to qualify quickly for the round of 16 should not be changed after the game against Tunisia on Wednesday, regardless of the players’ performance.

“It’s not tomorrow’s game that will change anything. It is important but not decisive for us.” In a press conference, Didier Deschamps downplayed expectations ahead of Les Bleus’ final group stage match against Tunisia on Wednesday, November 30. First qualified for the round of 16 thanks to its two victories against Australia (4-1), then against Denmark (2-1), his team could not dream of being more serene at this stage of the World Cup. The coach is also in a kind of quietude.

Whether his players are disappointing or easy on Wednesday, he will rely on the achievements of the first two games to establish his composition for the Round of 16. After long months of upsets, between results at half-mast and waves of injuries, “DD” has achieved the feat of finding a recipe that works on the day of the test, in full competition. The Varane-Upamecano hinge, the system with four offensive players, the Tchouameni-Rabiot-Griezmann midfield… All these assets will be preserved for the eighth round and there is little chance that they will be questioned against Tunisia for the simple reason that Deschamps will largely reshuffle his team.

“There will be changes. How many? You will not know,” summarized the coach. After his plans were guessed and revealed during the first two days, Didier Deschamps displays the firm intention not to give any clue. For comparison, he made six changes to his starting XI at the 2018 World Cup, and seven in 2014 – both times, Les Bleus had already qualified before the third game of the group stage. “The data is not quite the same today,” he added to maintain the vagueness.

Even the first place of the group, not yet acquired (to finish 2nd, the Blues must lose and Australia must win by making up a six-goal deficit on goal difference), does not make him blink: “We don’t necessarily need to get a point more in the absolute, but the team that will play tomorrow will have to make sure to get the best possible result, without having any obligation”, Deschamps slowed down.

Give the managers a break, involve the substitutes
Therefore, the composition of the team that will play the round of 16 raises very few questions. After Tunisia, we can expect the team that played Denmark to be the same, with one exception: the identity of the right back No. 1. After the failed match of Benjamin Pavard against Australia, Jules Koundé did not convince enough against the Danes to recover the place. With the threat of suspension hanging over him, Deschamps could play cautiously and offer Pavard a chance to redeem himself against Tunisia.

Beyond the individual positions, the match against Tunisia presents three interests for the coach: preserve his executives from possible injuries, involve a larger part of his squad and test some tactical adjustments by taking advantage of facing an opponent who must give everything to not leave Qatar. But it is worth noting that in 2018, when Les Bleus won the title in Russia, none of the players lined up against Denmark had upset the hierarchy and the starting eleven of the final was exactly the same as that of the second game (1-0 against Peru, in the first test of the 4-2-3-1 with Blaise Matuidi on the left side).