The Woodstock of football. An incredible sequence of freedom where two teams that everything separates, the record, the recognition, the status of the players and the rest, have communed in a kind of high mass of the ball. Where those who won lost, before winning back, then losing again, then … Given losing every time, poor third in their group and narrowly qualified, the Swiss took out the France team (3-3, 5 shots on goal at 4) at the end of a monumental match where the French team, yes, will have played its part.
However, she took three goals, squeezed an advantage of two when there were only a handful of minutes to play and the defensive weaknesses that we sensed so far have been seen in large. The day when, ironically, his attackers finally evolved to the level where they were presumed since the recall of Karim Benzema in mid-May. It was Kylian Mbappé who missed the only shot on goal of the series. As a big boy: he went there last, in accordance with the idea he has of his standing and his place in this kind of match.
A sleight of hand to cover oneself with misfortune
Before this outcome, we thought it had been resolved twice. The first: in the 53rd already, when the Swiss defender Ricardo Rodriguez appeared eleven meters in front of a supposedly mediocre Hugo Lloris in the exercise of penalties, which the French staff never took as a joke. The Swiss then lead 1-0. The defense of five of the French, umpteenth attempt to allow the attacking trio of Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann, to express themselves up to the potential of the three players, completely sank in the first period, turning into a nightmare for a defense at bay and a midfielder N’Golo Kanté-Paul Pogba undergoing the law of numbers, because one more defender is also one less midfielder.
Suddenly, Deschamps returned to 4-3-3 before half-time, then to 4-4-2 after. In short: everything and the opposite of everything, and the barge who begins to wonder if the origin of this defense to five, claimed Saturday or Sunday by the tricolor executives according to the team, is not the coach’s sleight of hand to cover himself in the event of misfortune. We see evil everywhere, it’s true. Benfica striker Haris Seferovic (1-0, 15th) opened the scoring with a header by picking up Clément Lenglet (defender, who comes out at half-time), the Blues no longer see anything and Rodriguez, therefore, shows up at the penalty spot. But he is trembling like a leaf. Because you do not ship the reigning world champions every day when you are Swiss. And Lloris stops the peno.
The second time we thought it was over, it was around the 75th minute. Royals, the Blues put three: two for Benzema, and the second evokes more the parts of Playstation (game three with Mbappé and Griezmann, outcome in six Swiss meters) than muddy football in very cold weather. And one for Pogba, who rolls up a ball in the skylight before slamming a few dance steps (75th, 3-1), installing the idea of a certain euphoria from the lawn to the stands of the National Arena in Bucharest . 3-1, at this point, the deal is done.
Deschamps also brings in his old soldier Moussa Sissoko (for Griezmann) as we thank a disciplined and deserving employee. But there, Seferovic has already brought the Swiss to one goal (3-2, 81st) and as he is denied the equalizer for offside in the wake, we are seized with a doubt. And we remember, then, that the Helvetii had three (!) More days to prepare their business. Not nothing. When Mario Gavrinovic opens the defense in two to recover from a heavy strike level (3-3, 90th), the tricolor faces betray visions of nightmare.
Great football moment
The continuation: completely open football, players at the end of the end and an indescribable and extraordinary spectacle, where the teams seem to commune rather than confront each other and where the audience is sucked into the field, because the actors invite. A rare zone, unknown outside of the big international tournaments and even there, the players who can taste it are rare. The two extensions went by like the blink of an eye.
The penalty shoot-out and the experienced Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer ejected the Blues from the arena. The French have lived since the draw (1-1) in Hungary on the imbalance: by bringing in Kingsley Coman at half-time in a planted team, in addition to his trio, the coach will not have fought this imbalance but the ‘will have acted, and even encouraged. The option could have paid off. She turned against the Blues. But got us a big, big football moment.