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against Kazakhstan, the Blues must “finish the job”

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The French football team leaves its usual Stade de France on Saturday to welcome Kazakhstan to the Parc des Princes and hopes in passing to qualify for the World Cup-2022 in Qatar.

The slogan is clear: “we have to finish the job”, proclaims Guy Stéphan, Didier Deschamps’ assistant. The situation is just as much when it comes time to host Kazakhstan, Saturday, November 13, at the Parc des Princes. A victory for the Blues and Kylian Mbappé’s teammates will be able to take their ticket for the World-2022. In case of defeat, they will have a second chance on Tuesday.

“You have to be vigilant enough not to believe yourself qualified before being qualified,” warned Didier Deschamps, as a preamble to this international gathering.

The coach knows only too well that in recent months his Blues have never been far from the misstep. The surprise elimination in the eighth of the Euro against Switzerland on penalties (3-3, 5-4 tab) or the sluggish draws in September against Bosnia and Ukraine (1-1) are there for remind him.

However, these concerns were partly erased in October by the French coronation in the League of Nations, at the expense of Belgium (3-2) and Spain (2-1).

At the top of Group D with 12 points, France is however on a very favorable waiver: Ukraine, second with 9 points, has only one game to play against two to the French. As for Finland (3e, 8 pts), she must negotiate on Saturday (3 p.m.) a complicated trip to Bosnia (4e, 7 pts) before receiving the Blues on Tuesday in Helsinki at the end of qualifying. A draw between Bosnians and Finns in the afternoon would arrange Hugo Lloris and his partners, who would then need only one point against the Kazakhs to go and defend their world title in Qatar.

The memory of 1994 and of November 13

However, one should not be superstitious. The Parc des Princes, exceptionally preferred to the Stade de France because of work in public transport, revives the painful memory of the qualifications for the Mondial-1994, concluded by the Bleus de Deschamps player, with two surprise defeats in the same stadium, against Israel and Bulgaria, in an almost identical accounting situation.

And the date, six years to the day after the jihadist attacks of 2015, one evening of France-Germany in Saint-Denis, adds to the symbolism of this evening, while the trial of the attacks of November 13 is currently being held before the special assize court of Paris.

A minute of silence in tribute to the victims will also be respected before the match and the Blues will wear a special armband for the occasion, in a stadium that will be full.

Uncertainties about the composition

The Habs therefore arrive with renewed confidence and a stabilized group, only disturbed by the injury absences of Presnel Kimpembe, Raphaël Varane and Paul Pogba.

Karim Benzema trained on the sidelines of the group until Thursday, but the striker, vying for the Golden Ball, is hoped for in the starting XI with his friends Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé.

The uncertainties are more about the midfielder – Adrien Rabiot or Aurélien Tchouaméni to support N’Golo Kanté? -, and the identity of the players who will make up the new defensive scheme of the Blues, with three central backs.

Dayot Upamecano and Kurt Zouma compete for a place alongside Lucas Hernandez and Jules Koundé, while Theo Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard start favorites to animate the wings, unless Deschamps opts for a more offensive profile on the right, like Kingsley Coman .

Opposite, the 125e world nation, beaten 2-0 in the first leg in Central Asia, has some arguments: “It is a very generous team in the effort, very united, with a lot of density”, explained to AFP Guy Stéphan, emphasizing the “mental qualities” of the opponent. Will these be enough to push back the hopes of qualifying for the Blues?

With AFP

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