Euro 2024: Didier Deschamps' restrictive playing style at the center of the debates, before the round of 16

Euro 2024: Didier Deschamps' restrictive playing style at the center of the debates, before the round of 16

Le sélectionneur des Bleus, au centre des attentions. dpa – Bernd Thissen

The poor performances of the French team in the first round of Euro-2024 have relaunched the recurring debate on the restrictive style of play advocated by Didier Deschamps, even if the coach must also deal with poor form of its two technical leaders, Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.

It's the same refrain that has come up at every major competition since the arrival of the former world champion at the helm of the Blues in 2012. Priority given to the defensive base, absence of risk-taking and ambition on the offensive level: the grievances have not varied and stick to Deschamps' coattails despite a unique record in the annals of French football.

Also read: Euro 2024: woozy attack, tactic that raises eyebrows or bench that has no impact… the French team has no shortage of problems

The criticism was just as severe after the start of Euro 2016 or the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but they did not prevent the French from ;#39;go to the final each time, and even pick up a 2nd star at the end of the World Cup in Russia six years ago, while scoring a lot of goals (14 in 2018, 16 in 2022) .

"I'm not disappointed, not at all"

The criticisms, however, took another turn during this Euro in view of the chronic clumsiness of the attackers, the questionable choices of the coach and his tactical trials and errors. An observation that the technician immediately dismissed with the back of his hand just after another dull and worrying production, Tuesday against Poland (1-1), without doubt the biggest player in the world. one of the weakest teams in the tournament, condemning the Blues to finish in 2nd place in group D and a very complicated journey from the round of 16.

"I'm not disappointed, not at all, he assured. The objective was to get first place, we did what we had to do. I would have been a lot more worried if we hadn't had the chances." 

Also read: Euro 2024: “We know each other well, so it will be a big round of 16", assures Deschamps before France-Belgium

This unfailing pragmatism is also shared by certain executives, who, like their boss, place results above everything else. "At the end of our career, we will remember more about each person's record rather than how they played. There have been a lot of very good results recently with this coach. We may not be the team that plays the best but we are the team that finds itself in the final four most often", estimated midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni.


The question of the quality of play had already arisen during preparation, with Antoine Griezmann having admitted that the spectacle put on by the French team was "boring".

This little music was heard again after the draw conceded against Poland, some players pointing out, implicitly, a lack of offensive will, like a small pebble in Deschamps' garden. "I think we did a little too much management", noted Bradley Barcola while'Adrien Rabiot did not hesitate to assert that the Blues did not " put in enough to win".

Also read: Euro 2024: stiff neck for Coman, Saliba misses the bus, audiences down but high… News from the French team

The starting eleven lined up was symptomatic of a certain reluctance. Forced to win against an eliminated nation, the coach opted for three defensive midfielders (Kanté, Tchouaméni, Rabiot), sacrificing a historic frame like Griezmann.

An option which inevitably had consequences on the creativity of the Blues. In his defense, Deschamps has to manage a group that is sticking its tongue out at the end of a very long club season, starting with Mbappé and Griezmann. The captain, handicapped by his complicated last months at PSG and minor injuries (back, knee), is not 100%.

At the wall

Athletic problems accentuated by his broken nose. "Grizou" is unrecognizable with a loss of influence on the game as the procrastination of Deschamps, torn between his usual pattern of 4-3-3 and a 4-4-2 having proven itself at the 2018 World Cup, n&# 39;s not working out.

To make the picture even darker, the coach's coaching during the match has so far produced no effect and he is also deprived of his privileged relays in the locker room after the international retirement of several major players (Lloris, Varane) and the troubles of Paul Pogba. Enough to put him even more against the wall before challenging Belgium on Monday in Düsseldorf.

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