World Cup 2022: the statistics of the France team, before the final against Argentina

With a fourth final in seven appearances in the World Cup, the French football team, which will face Argentina on Sunday December 18 at 4 p.m. in the final of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, is the “the most regular nation of the last quarter century”.

► 13 goals scored, 5 conceded

For now, the France team is also, with England, the best attack of this World Cup. The players have scored 13 goals in the six games played. Among the top scorers: Kylian Mbappé has five goals, while his partner in attack Olivier Giroud has scored four times.

The semi-final of the Blues against Morocco was a first for the French defense: Hugo Lloris and his defenders kept the French clean sheet for the first time during this World Cup. In total, the French players have conceded one goal in every game before, making five in total.

Future opponent of the Blues, Argentina scored 12 goals and conceded five.

► 4 minutes 39 seconds: speed record for Theo Hernandez

By opening the scoring in the semi-final against Morocco after 4 minutes of play, defender Theo Hernandez became the fastest scorer at this stage of the competition since 1958. Only the Brazilian Vava had done better by scoring after two minutes in the semi-finals of the 1958 World Cup… against France.

► 0.19: Kylian Mbappé defends less than once per game

Focused on the attack with five goals in six games, the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker participates very little in defensive spots. In total, out of the 477 minutes played during this World Cup, Kylian Mbappé defended… only once. This is the lowest number of any player in the competition.

His teammate in attack at PSG and future opponent Sunday Lionel Messi has nine defensive actions in 570 minutes played or 1.42 per game.

► 144 selections and 19 World Cup matches: Hugo Lloris, model of longevity

Captain of the Blues, Hugo Lloris, now has 19 games played, in four different World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018, 2022). At 35, the goalkeeper is also the most selected Blue in the history of French football, with 144 selections.

► 20.7 million viewers: audience ratings for TF1

Each new meeting of the Blues beats the previous annual television audience record. The semi-final against Morocco attracted an average of 20.7 million viewers on TF1, according to figures published by Médiamétrie.

The other matches of the France team also brought together more than ten million people. Another audience record is expected in Sunday’s final against Argentina.

► €400,000 bonus for future winners

If they retain their world title, the players of the France team will receive a €400,000 bonus paid by the International Football Federation (Fifa), according to the sports daily The Team.

If this amount represents only a few days of salary in their respective club, the Blues will be able to donate their bonus to associations or NGOs which “work for human rights”, as they hinted before the competition. In 2018, an endowment fund, “Generation 2018”was created for this purpose.



World-2022: before United States – Iran, the five most political matches in the history of sport

Apart from their international dimension, sport and geopolitics have a priori nothing in common. And yet, “it is obvious that global politics influences sport and vice versa”, writes the Polish researcher Michał Marcin Kobierecki in an academic article on the subject.

Meetings between rival countries, such as the match between Iran and the United States, which takes place on Tuesday November 29 as part of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, therefore have a particular resonance.

“These kinds of oppositions can be used by states to show their supposed superiority over their rivals, continues Michał Marcin Kobierecki. Victories against ideologically competing states are therefore particularly valuable. » From the clash between Nazi Germany and America to the Cold War, there have been many tense geopolitical confrontations over the past century.

► Iran – United States, a repeat of 1998

Iran and the United States had already faced each other in 1998, during the Football World Cup organized in France. The president of the American federation had described this meeting as “father of all matches”. The Islamic Republic team wins 2-1. “Our adversary, strong and arrogant, has tasted the bitter flavor of defeat”, reacts at the time the supreme guide Ali Khamenei.

On the field, however, the players show restraint and congratulate each other at the end of the game. In addition, the president is then Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who seeks to appease relations with the West.

Today, the situation is much more tense. Power is held by hardliners, Iranian drones in Russian hands have plunged Ukraine into darkness, and violent protests have rocked the country for months.

► Ping-pong diplomacy

Until the 1970s, the United States did not recognize the Communist government as representing the Chinese people. They continue to support the nationalist leaders, exiled on the island of Taiwan following their defeat against the Red Army in 1949.

A team of American table tennis players finally brought the two countries closer together in cold weather by setting foot on Chinese soil in April 1971. Prime Minister Zhou Enlai received them warmly, hoping that this visit augured “a new page in the relations between the American and Chinese peoples”. In the process, Richard Nixon announced the withdrawal of certain measures preventing the movement of goods and people between the two nations.

The following year, the American president in turn visited the country, and diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing were restored in 1979, after thirty years of freezing.

► Joe Louis against Max Schmeling, a black American against Nazi Germany

Considered one of the most talented boxers of his generation, Joe Louis symbolized in 1930s America the possibility for African-Americans to escape poverty. A particularly important figure as the Ku Klux Klan continues to plague the southern states of the country. He faced in 1936 then in 1938 the German Max Schmeling, representative of the Third Reich, although he was personally an opponent of the Nazi party.

The two rival governments, which would clash brutally a few years later, get involved in the fight. “Joe, we need muscles like yours to knock Germany down,” says US President Franklin Roosevelt to his champion. Adolf Hitler is said to have sent messages to Schmeling, warning him that the prestige of the Third Reich depended on his victory. He will win the first confrontation, before being defeated in 1938.

► The “miracle on ice”

The most tenacious rivalry of the 20th century remains that which pitted the communist USSR against capitalist America. “These two countries, which have nuclear weapons, have no interest in opposing each other with arms. We must therefore find other fields of competition: sport, alongside the space and arms race, has become one of them. analyzes specialist Michał Marcin Kobierecki.

One of the most famous clashes between the two rivals remains the Olympic ice hockey tournament at the Winter Games in Lake Placid, USA. The American team wins to everyone’s surprise against arch-favorites Soviets. On the occasion of its centenary, in 2008, the international ice hockey federation describes this event as the most important in its history.

► The diplomacy of cricket

Cricket, the second most popular sport in the world after football, has also served to bring enemy nations closer together. In 1987, while Indian and Pakistani troops were massed on both sides of their common border, Muhammad Zia Ul Haq, who led Pakistan, traveled to India to watch a match between the two nations.

According to the BBC, he takes the opportunity to remind Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that his country also has atomic weapons. In the process, the two governments sign an agreement providing for the withdrawal of their soldiers.



Mental preparation, the other site of French sport before the 2024 Paris Olympics

The warning shot had resonated in French sport. The thirty-three charms, including ten in gold, brought back from the last Olympiad in Tokyo in the summer of 2021 are not enough, it will be necessary “do a lot more” at the next Olympic Games in Paris, warned Emmanuel Macron in front of the audience of medal-winning athletes invited to the Élysée for their return to France.

Without daring to put forward a precise figure, such as the 80 medals of which his former Minister of Sports Laura Flessel spoke when the event was awarded in 2017, the Head of State wants France to rise among the five best nations. The ranking being defined by the number of gold medals, reaching this level requires an average of fifteen golden metals, a total that the Blues have not won since the Atlanta Olympics, twenty-six years ago.

Less than two years from the big rout of world sport (from July 26 to August 11, 2024), and while the qualifying campaign will begin in a year, the challenge remains daunting for the tricolor clan. Especially since he has fallen behind in one of the factors that have become key to performance: mental preparation.

“At the Olympics, all athletes will reach their physical peak, so the difference can be made in the head. But we should have already started this work since it is a question of changing our habits and our lifestyle”, alert Stéphanie Pouvreau, one of the thirty mental trainers labeled by the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (Insep), to whom athletes turn “when they have the feeling of not evolving at their level in competition”.

Reluctance of federations

Problem: the latter are sometimes only decided a few weeks before a competition. This scenario was even observed in one out of two finalists at the Rio Olympics in 2016, according to the latest Insep barometer. Either the symptom, added to the fact that only a third of the athletes selected declared that they exercised there regularly, of a “mental readiness deficit”, points the instance to another study.

If athletes can themselves credit the “cliché that if you need to work on your mind, you’re not good enough”advances the mental coach Delphine Pichard, “the brake does not come so much from them as from their coaches, includes mental trainer Anthony Mette. The Olympic sports are very federalized and their leaders want to control everything”.

Despite his presence in the French swimming community for a decade – he who whispered in the ear of the best French people in the pools, like Florent Manaudou -, Thomas Sammut did not “never been approached directly by the federation” : “We had to wait to have a foreign coach (Dutchman Jacco Verhaeren has been leading the French teams for a year, editor’s note) to change things up and start talking. »

Like most mental coaches, the Frenchman first puts on his sports psychologist cap, the one with which he spends “90% of the time” to help the athlete “Get to know yourself better, to identify your weak points but above all your strengths, those that will make the difference on D-Day”.

In 2020, the trainer begins a collaboration with Léon Marchand, the new French phenomenon who will bring the chances of an Olympic title to Paris. The athlete had then come close to burnout at the age of 18 and had “no longer want to swim”, as he confided a posteriori to Release : I needed a break, to stay with my family, to redo things that I did as a child with my little brother. I called a mental trainer to work on me, to find out who I really am. I found the source of energy that I had when I was younger. »

Visualization and mindfulness

Then comes the time for the mental preparation itself, made up of exercises aimed at perfecting their technique. “You can work on visualizing a specific sporting gesture using, for example, mental imagery, quotes Stephanie Pouvreau. Cognitive science has shown that this activates the same areas of the brain as when the athlete physically performs this gesture. This accelerates its anchoring and can also be used to rehabilitate injured athletes by training them to visualize a muscle they no longer use. »

And to regulate their emotions, as enabled by mindfulness meditation, which is popular today among the most recognized athletes, from tennis player Novak Djokovic to footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. By focusing most often on his breathing, “the athlete learns to observe his thoughts to better return to the present moment”, explains Anthony Mette.

The method was used by rowers Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias, crowned at the Tokyo Olympics and titled Sunday, September 25 at the world championship in double sculls (rowing), to no longer convert the physical pain, necessarily present in an effort to endurance, in psychological suffering. Among his followers is also the French fencer Cécilia Berder, who aims to climb the podium of the Grand Palais, in Paris, a step higher than in Japan.

“Additional pressure” at home?

The framework of Games organized at home can also “create additional pressure”, predicts Delphine Pichard. The opportunity to evolve at home, in front of the French public but also his family and friends, risks inhibiting certain Blues for fear of disappointing, even if the mental coach, in support of certain tricolors in the French pole and triathlon hopefuls , BMX and sailing, recalls that the Paris Olympics are “supposed to bring them an advantage” and does not plan to work on this aspect.

Unlike the most anticipated French people, such as Léon Marchand after his two gold medals at the last world championships in Budapest in June, and Thomas Sammut counts “to prepare for the media surge that will surround it”. Lest the joy be too intense, or the failure too heavy to bear, “We must not sanctify these games”, he points out.

A way to also prepare for the post-Olympic period, by preventing episodes of post-Olympic depression – including for medalists – long buried in the locker room until the speeches after Tokyo a year ago. “This mental preparation project is linked to the question of the reasons why athletes play sports, says Thomas Sammut. To chase a medal? It is ephemeral and there will be a decompensation when it comes time to put down your suitcases on your way home. Or is it to get to know each other better? »


One in three French athletes does not prepare mentally

The mental accompaniment will be one of the key elements in the performance of French athletes at the next Olympic Games in Paris (July 26 to August 11, 2024).

At the Rio Olympics in 2016, on which the latest barometer from the National Institute for Sport, Expertise and Performance (Insep) is based, 78% of French finalists (those who finished among the top eight in their discipline) and 61% of medalists said to prepare themselves mentally.

However, one in three qualified declared never to make mental preparation, even if this figure exceeds the 52% of the athletes questioned in 2014 by Insep in its survey on the rhythms of life of the sportsmen.

Main sticking point according to several coaches, the use of mental trainers takes place outside the framework of the federations concerned for 41% of tricolor athletes.



Accused of rape, footballer Benjamin Mendy in court in the United Kingdom

The trial of world football champion Benjamin Mendy, accused of eight rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault, opens Wednesday August 10 for more than three months in Chester in the north-west of England.

The 28-year-old French footballer, suspended for a year by Manchester City, is accused by seven women and denies the ten charges which relate to facts which allegedly took place between October 2018 and August 2021 at his home in Prestbury, in Cheshire.

A trial supposed to last at least fifteen weeks

He is on trial alongside another man, Louis Saha Matturie (unrelated to former footballer Louis Saha), prosecuted on his side for eight rapes and four sexual assaults on eight women between July 2012 and August 2021. The latter has also pleaded not guilty.

Their trial was originally scheduled to open on July 25 but was postponed for two weeks. It is scheduled to last fifteen weeks, according to the court.

The first days of this long-term trial must be devoted to choosing the jurors and organizing the hearings.

Suspended by Manchester City since the start of the case

Winner of the 2018 World Cup with the France team, where he played the role of good comrade if not one of the key players, Benjamin Mendy left the lawns for almost a year for the bench of the defendants and the cells of Liverpool and Manchester prisons, where he spent more than four months, from August 2021 to January 2022, in pre-trial detention. Released in early January, he was placed under judicial supervision pending trial.

Mendy has not played a single football match since August 15, 2021 with his Manchester City club, which suspended him when the case started.

Trained in Le Havre, revealed in Marseille and spent a season with Monaco, Benjamin Mendy became the most expensive defender in history in 2017 when the Citizens paid 52 million pounds (about 61.4 million euros at the current price). ) to secure his services.

A career punctuated by hopes, never really justified

When he arrived at City, he was considered one of the great French and world prospects at left-back. But his career has been hampered for four years by injuries and he has never really lived up to the expectations placed on him.

During the epic of the Blues in Russia in 2018, he sends back the image of the teaser always ready to turn on his portable speakers and play the role of DJ in the bus or the locker room, to start a dance à la celebrating the slightest goal of his teammates or multiplying “stories” on Instagram.

Benjamin Mendy’s trial opens two days after that of Welshman and former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, 48, accused of assaulting his girlfriend.



Paris 2024: before the Olympics, sport as a tool for social innovation

Suspended nearly 15m high, Ibrahim displays a bright smile. He didn’t hesitate for a second, tackled the climbing wall without trembling and, having reached the top of the wall, took advantage of the view without the slightest dizziness. The descent, well wedged in his harness, is obviously too fast, but he must leave room for his comrades.

They are six students from the Sylvain-Dauriac primary school in Bagatelle, a popular district of Toulouse, to do their range in the discipline, this Wednesday afternoon, at the Quéfets gymnasium in Tournefeuille, in the suburbs of the Pink City. But it is already a small revolution, possible thanks to Paris 2024.

→ EXPLANATION. Paris Olympics: what are the “exception laws” that Emmanuel Macron proposes to use?

The project in which these kids are taking part is part of the “Impact 2024” program which, for the past two years, has been supporting initiatives carried out by multiple players, athletes and institutions. An endowment fund has been created for this purpose. In 2021, 4.9 million euros had been spent on 224 projects. They will be around 250 this year to share an envelope of 5.8 million euros.

“With our brand, we bring visibility to projects that must show how sport can change lives, underlines Damien Combredet-Blassel, Sport & Society Manager at Paris 2024. We also want them to help get the different players used to working together and that such good practices will take hold beyond the Games if possible. »

“Broadening Horizons”

Endowed with €42,000, the Occitanie league project of the French Mountain and Climbing Federation carries this ambition. “It starts from a desire to introduce young people from the neighborhoods to our discipline, far removed from their concerns, to broaden their horizons by taking them to the mountains”, exposes Anne Geernaert, the director of the regional FFME league.

Initially, the desire was to associate schools from two priority neighborhoods of city policy (QPV), Bagatelle in Toulouse and Laubadère in Tarbes (Hautes-Pyrénées), and to allow regular exchanges on sites offering the access to the many joys of the mountains (hiking, climbing, via ferrata, etc.).

But the realization testifies to the difficulties encountered in this kind of project. “We had misjudged the resistance to the health pass in the neighborhoods, and we were therefore unable to launch the operation in the fall of 2021 with middle school students, because they could not have access to the gymnasiums”, illustrates Anne Geernaert.

At the end of winter, after an initiation on a mobile climbing block at the college which had some success, more than a hundred students showed interest. But when planning a trip to Tournefeuille’s world-class climbing wall, “We fell during Ramadan and only two students showed up, also tells Ethel Barnabé, former CPE of the college and seasoned climber at the origin of the project. We therefore turned to the CM1-CM2 of the elementary school who took advantage of the windfall! “.

“Encouraging perseverance, the main challenge”

On the side of Tarbes, it is the inauguration deferred for six months of a new climbing wall which has also postponed the project. Its promoters are in the starting blocks to really bring it to life from the start of the next school year. “It’s a long job to attract young people, also convince parents to trust us, recalls Ethel Barnabé. On our territories, it takes a lot of energy to register an activity in the long term. Encouraging perseverance is our main challenge. »

→ ANALYSIS. Construction sites under pressure, poorly protected workers

In Tarbes, Marlène Margui, relay of the project and member of the Roc & Pyrène club, wants to add another dimension to the affair: to convince, in addition to young people, certain mothers. “To form a group of women and ultimately succeed in a common challenge on an ascent in the summer of 2023, explains the host, who also works on city policy. There are many obstacles to overcome, in particular the cultural weight which does not facilitate access to sport for women in these neighborhoods, but I want to believe in it. And I hope to demonstrate with this pilot project that it is possible, and to inspire other clubs. » Experimenting and then expanding, such is the challenge for Paris 2024.


Doing better around disability

With its Impact program, Paris 2024 also hopes to provoke a “interesting leverage effect”says its manager, Damien Combredet-Blassel: “When we invest €1, it enables us to raise €3 from other partners. » Since 2020, Paris 2024 has had 700,000 beneficiaries of its program. An effort to continue, and to accentuate for projects of access to sports practice for the disabled, “currently our area of ​​weakness”recognizes the delegate general. “Projects around disability require a lot of time, skills and specific equipment, which explains the difficulty in bringing them to light, tip Apolline Vedrenne, Paralympic referent in Occitania. But Paris 2024 should put a particular focus on disabled sport next year. »



Cycling: before the madness of the Tour, the time of the “classics”

“For me, Roubaix is ​​closer to the city of Liège, in Belgium, than to Tours or Orléans, and I think Paris-Roubaix is ​​a more Flemish race than French! » This assertion by a passionate and very good connoisseur of cycling will make some cyclists cringe. But Laurent Galinon, author of a book released at the end of February (1) devoted to the “classics”, these great one-day cycling races, takes on this pleasant provocation.

“Ask Bernard Hinault for his opinion, he said that Paris-Roubaix was rubbish even after winning it. Other French winners like Marc Madiot or Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle could not find any compatriot to accompany them on the cobblestones…”, advances the author. “It’s a sign, isn’t it? In France, as everyone knows, only the Tour de France counts, the rest doesn’t interest many people, except in the North. »

→ REREAD. The Italian Sonny Colbrelli offers a dantesque Paris-Roubaix

All the classics are more or less from local fairs, where cycling races were added at the end of the 19th century, often on the initiative of owners at a time when the bicycle had become the means of transport to come to work. in the factories. “At the beginning, it was a question of occupying the workers on Sunday afternoon to divert them from the taverns and communism, which means that the Church, rather opposed to the festivities at the start, ended up understanding the interest »says Laurent Galinon, who details in his book the Vatican’s adherence to the two great Italian classics, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Lombardy.

“The Tour of Flanders, Everest in one day”

Although it starts at the end of February, the classics season really takes off in Belgium at the end of March, with the two so-called “Flandrian” races. Ghent-Wevelgem, won on Sunday March 27 to everyone’s surprise by the Eritrean Biniam Girmay, followed by “Through Flanders”, won on Wednesday March 30 by the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel. Which intends to win for the second time on Sunday April 3 on the biggest of all, the Tour of Flanders.

“It’s for this kind of racing that we love this job”, explains Marc Madiot, boss of the Française des Jeux, former winner of Paris-Roubaix, who knows that the Tour of Flanders has always or almost always been the preserve of Belgians, Dutch or Italians (the last French victory dates back to 1956 ). “It is undoubtedly the most important of the classics today, but that has not always been the case, all the classics have had their ups and downs in their long history”, adds Laurent Galinon.

A sixth monument?

If Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders are today at the top of the pile, the palm has long been awarded to the Ardennes Liège-Bastogne-Liège, from which we can never withdraw its title of dean, from the top of its 130 years (it was created in 1892). This notion of longevity is also mandatory to deserve the term classic in the bicycle dictionary. “It takes years to install a myth, to tell stories”, continues this author, who is also a specialist in… Italian cinema.

→ PORTRAIT. Tour of Flanders: Wout Van Aert, a cycling champion from afar

“For a classic to be great, there must be good guys, bad guys, traitors, injustices, twists, surprises and a decor commensurate with the event”, continues this cinephile in love with the dramatic comedies of Dino Risi. The greatest classics merge with crossing points that have entered into mythology: Milan-San Remo has its Poggio (a climb just before the finish), the Tour of Flanders the climb of Grammont, the Flèche wallonne the wall of Huy, Paris-Roubaix the (paved) gap at Arenberg, Liège-Bastogne-Liège the Côte de la Redoute. And the tour of Lombardy, the Ghisallo pass, where a young priest in love with the little queen had convinced Pius XII to dedicate a chapel to cyclists.

The world of cycling commentators has adopted for fifteen years a new term to evoke the five great races. Today we speak of “monuments”, but this term leaves purists like Laurent Galinon thinking, who leave it up to each amateur to determine which of the great one-day races is most dear to his heart. “I’m the Het Nieuwsblad circuit (Ardennes) in February, because it is still very cold, others like Milan-San Remo because it is the beginning of spring in Italy. » In a recent poll conducted by the newspaper The Team, professional runners have acclaimed the Strade Bianche (“white route”), a race created in 2007 which takes place mainly on gravel paths in Italy. According to them, it will soon be the sixth monument.



Handball: the Blue are really on the attack before the semi-final of the World Cup

It becomes a habit. The French handball players are again in the last four of a great competition. After a convincing demonstration against the Swedes in the quarter-finals (31-26), the Blue continued on the momentum of their triumph at the Olympic Games by inviting themselves to the semi-final of the World Cup, against Denmark, on Friday, December 17. They have reached this level for the seventh time in the last eight international competitions they have played. A real success.

→ ANALYSIS. Handball: the Blue want to impose their law on the world championship

It must be said and repeated. So the trainer Olivier Krumbholz takes care of it: “We have to do pedagogy all the time to explain that being there is not obvious. That it is an endlessly renewed, monstrous job, with exceptional girls. “ It was indeed not easy to bounce back from the Olympic title, and a decompression that emptied the team as well as the management. But the collective has been able to draw on its resources to set out again in conquest more beautiful.

Lightning counterattacks

Because on solid foundations, we can rebuild faster. And the basis of the France team is an iron defense, an ability to stifle opposing inclinations. Aptitude verified against Russia to complete the main round (33-28), or against the Swedes, physically affected and put under the snuffer in the second part of the match. To this mastery, the Blue added a new offensive ease. “We have a lot more plasticity in defense than in attack, we are known for that. But we are working tactically to better oil the suits in front, and a click occurred in the middle of the Olympic tournament. The end of the competition was more successful, and we remain in this dynamic at this World Cup. We show more fluidity in attack, on collective movements that we repeat often. “

The players benefit in particular from their physical excellence to offer themselves very fast lifts of the ball. As soon as the latter is recovered, a blue wave unfolds, the ball flies from hand to hand until, in a few seconds, an opening solution is found on the opposing goal. “We paid particular attention to this kind of counter-attack, because we had identified a deficiency in this area during the Games., continues the coach. Now it is a weapon that we have mastered. “

In this register, Grace Zaadi, the “Ambition leader” (dixit Krumbholz) of the band is distinguished by playing the launching pad. At 28, the center-half who has already won everything (the World Cup in 2017, the Euro in 2018 and the Games this summer) is the metronomic hub of the Blue. Imperial in defense, she has been perfectly inspired since the start of the competition to break through the opponent’s safe, also finding, through her precise passes, the pivot Pauletta Foppa. Indispensable, the master at playing? “It’s a small downside: she played a lot”, admits Olivier Krumbholz.

Still a little waste when shooting

No panic though. The bench depth is the other major asset of this team. It is in its ability to rotate the workforce without affecting performance that the team also forges its certainties. The return from injury of Orlane Kanor for example (victim of a ruptured Achilles tendon in April 2021), called at the last minute in the middle of the competition, is timely to bring his science of long range shooting to the Blue. Because if the attacking potential has improved, there is still this waste on shooting, visible in the first half against Sweden.

The lack of gunboats remains a weak point for Les Bleues. “In this area, it is on training that we must focus, on an individual technique no doubt to be better refined among young people, because it is not in the France team that we have the time. to work on shooting, says Olivier Krumbholz. We are focusing on tactical preparation. “

However, it will be necessary to fire everything against the Danes on Friday, past masters in the art of weaving barbed wire (read below). Can the beautiful blue offensive mechanics get stuck? “Against them, if we have a single weak sector, it will not work”, warns Olivier Krumbholz. Condemned to excellence, the Blue. As per usual.


Beware of the Danes

The Blue will meet in the semi-final, Friday December 17 at 5.30 p.m., the Danes against whom they remain on three victories: during the first phase of Euro 2020 (23-20), and in March 2021 in preparation matches at the Tokyo Games to which the Scandinavian team was not invited (26-22 and 24-23). But also drags in the memories of the French this wicked defeat at the 2019 World Cup (18-20) which sealed their traumatic elimination in the first round. Les Bleues know that the debates will be heated, and that they will have to work to overcome a rough defense and especially the two Danish goalkeepers, Sandra Toft and Althea Reinhardt, who have the best save percentages in the competition.



2022 World Cup: the Blues, an exciting qualification before a long wait

Everything was perfectly in place. On the program, back to the future. History to be scared and to spice up the session. The framework first. The Parc des Princes, for the first time in ages, the Stade de France being embarrassed by works around. And then the stake: a qualification for the World Cup. The last time these two parameters were combined was in the fall of 1993, one of the most sinister moments in the history of national football.

→ DEBATE. Football: should we boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

The Blues received, Saturday, November 13, Kazakhstan to validate their ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and therefore hovered in the stands of the 28-year-old ghosts. Those at the end of the 1994 World Cup qualifying campaign, the collective memory reducing the failure of the then Blues to this improbable defeat (1-2) against Bulgaria on November 17 on a goal scored by Emil Kostadinov, to six seconds of the end of regulation time. Except that the fall of the House of France had also been played out a month earlier, already in the Park, against Israel. Tiny football nation (71e in the Fifa ranking), but which, badaboum, won in the pouring rain (3-2), showering the Blues annoyed.

A historic Mbappé

This cursed fall, Didier Deschamps, at the time both times in the field, did not hesitate to summon her to motivate his troops before Kazakhstan: “You don’t have to think you’re qualified before you are. It happened, personally, I paid for it, it must not be repeated ”. It was said. Kazakhstan, 125e world nation and 13 consecutive games without success, facing recent world champions winners of the League of Nations, the warning was not worth crippling trauma.

A certain Kylian Mbappé, in fact, hastened to nip the anxieties in the bud. A hat-trick in just over half an hour, and there was no need to worry anymore. Just enjoy an ideal evening, with goals strung like in the parade against a defense of Kazakhstan of a marked weakness: 8 in total, Mbappé finally signing a quadruplet never seen in the selection since Just Fontaine in 1958, Karim Benzema a double to look good, Adrien Rabiot his first achievement in blue, and Antoine Griezmann a penalty to participate in the party.

The Blues are therefore qualified before their last match against Finland, Tuesday, November 16 in Helsinki, and this is a first. In a group without real rivals, they have for once avoided stumbling stupidly to invite themselves to their 7e World Cup in a row. So here they are, ready to step into the unknown, this long tunnel eleven months before the arrival of the major competition. Pushed back almost on time on the Advent calendar, the 2022 Mondial (November 21-December 18) promises a very long wait when the debates usually come to life with the end of spring. What to think about and put the work back on the job? No doubt, because the sites opened by Didier Deschamps in recent months are not yet at the finishing stage.

A system still to be refined

To be confirmed in particular, the playing system favored by Didier Deschamps, this defense with three defenders who took time to win since his first try against Albania in November 2019 (2-0). It has only been installed since the start of the 2021 school year, with the efficiency we know in the League of Nations, but the role played in particular by the additional “pistons” on the wings, with a Kingsley Coman twirling against Kazakhstan, is to be further reinforced in the face of more solid opposition.

We know that this choice corresponds to the desire to put the three stars of the attack in the best possible conditions. Saturday night’s offensive festival should not make people forget that the Griezmann-Benzema-Mbappé trio can still be improved and that the three are not yet in tune. Finally, to be refined, the integration of promising young shoots of the Blues. Didier Deschamps has not hesitated in recent months to launch new recruits, rather with great success. The astonishing maturity at 21 years of Monaco midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni, the spectacular ardor of AC Milan defender Théo Hernandez (24 years old), the slaughter of the Sevilla side Jules Koundé (23 years old), or the availability of Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby (22) are all promises to be confirmed.

→ READ. In Qatar, the hidden face of the 2022 World Cup

Adjustment opportunities will not be legion in 2022, and the final preparation non-existent, the players being released only one week before the start of the World Cup. It is not the least of the difficulties which awaits these Blues of gala.


A still unclear program

After their meeting without a stake against Finland on Tuesday, November 16, the Blues will separate for more than three months. The reunion is scheduled for March 2022, with, in the boxes, a tournament project in Qatar in the company of three other teams including that of the emirate, which could be finalized in January. The other matches already scheduled are those of the League of Nations, the draw of which is scheduled for December 16. Four are announced in June, two at the end of September. The Blues will not be reunited until November 14, a short week before the start of the World Cup.



The Tour de France women 2022 will start in front of the Eiffel Tower on July 24

Marion Rousse, recently appointed director of the event organized by ASO, unveiled Thursday, October 14, the route of this “First” edition, eight stages long for a distance exceeding 1,000 kilometers.

A women’s Tour de France has existed in the past in different forms. Organized in parallel with the Men’s Tour from 1984 to 1989, it then took place with other organizers under other names before disappearing at the end of the 2000s for lack of funding.

The Tour de France Women will start on the day of the arrival of the Tour 2022 men, Sunday July 24. The new event will be endowed with € 250,000 in prizes, including 50,000 for the winner, i.e. an amount greater than the one-week races for men (the total amount of the Paris-Nice prizes reaches for example € 144,300, including 16,000 to the winner).

Eight days of racing, waiting for more?

The officially named race route “Tour de France Women with Zwift” will take the direction of the east of France along four stages of plain, two others with a rugged profile and two days in the mountains.

→ ANALYSIS. The beautiful autumn of women’s cycling

Symbolically, the competitors will climb the Ballon d’Alsace, the first pass to be climbed by the Tour de France in 1905, and will compete for the last yellow jersey at the top of the super Planche des Belles-Filles which will also be the finish of the Grande Boucle l ‘next year.

“An eight-day race is the right format”, estimated Marion Rousse. “We do not put barriers to go beyond thereafter. Our ambition is to organize a long-lasting race and, for this, the economic aspect is essential ”.

A daily live TV of 2:30

If the highest point of the event is set at the Grand Ballon (1336 m above sea level), in the 7e and penultimate stage leading to the Alsatian station of Markstein, the longest stage will reach 175 kilometers between Bar-le-Duc and Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (5e stage).

Curiosity of this first edition, the 4e step will take the “White paths”, French version of the Tuscan Strade Bianche, that is to say chalky paths through the vineyards of the Champagne hillsides for nearly 13 kilometers as you approach Bar-sur-Aube.

Twenty-two teams of six runners will be entered and the race will benefit from a live broadcast of 2.5 hours per day on France Télévisions. “The races already exist in women’s cycling”, noted Tour director Christian Prudhomme. “What is lacking is dissemination, media coverage, essential to ensure economic balance. We hope to achieve balance in the first year ”.


The 8 stages of the Tour de France Women 2022

July 24 : 1st stage Paris Eiffel Tower – Paris Champs-Élysées, 82 km

July 25 : 2nd stage Meaux (Seine-et-Marne) – Provins (Seine-et-Marne), 135 km

July 26 : 3rd stage Reims – Épernay (Marne), 133 km

July 27 : 4th stage Troyes – Bar-sur-Aube (Aube), 126 km

July 28 : 5th stage Bar-le-Duc (Meuse) – Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (Vosges), 175 km

July 29 : 6th stage Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (Vosges) – Rosheim (Bas-Rhin), 128 km

July 30 : 7th stage Sélestat (Bas-Rhin) – Le Markstein (Haut-Rhin), 127 km

July 31 : 8th stage Lure (Haute-Saône) – The super Planche des Belles-Filles (Haute-Saône), 123 km



Paralympic Games: the strong momentum of the Blues before 2024

It needed a beautiful end. Lucas Mazur therefore took charge of the ultimate fireworks display, by awarding himself two medals for the last day of the Paralympics in Tokyo this Sunday, September 5: silver in mixed doubles with Faustine Noël, and especially gold. in individual, record set in stone, the Orléanais doubling on the podium for the first appearance of badminton at the Paralympics.

→ THE NEWS. Paralympic Games: Lucas Mazur, eleventh and last French gold medal in Tokyo

The world number one in the discipline has not flinched, even if it came close to missing the highest step, the first set lost and the third badly started against his Indian opponent Suhas Yathiraj (15-21, 21-17, 21-15). “In these moments, I look for strong moments, moments of love with my family, with my coach and my friends, said the French. It helped me a lot. Today my victory is for everyone. “

France 14e on the medal board

It crowns for France an unexpected balance sheet. The French delegation showed measured ambition before Tokyo by targeting 35 charms. She returns with the bag filled beyond her expectations. With 54 medals, the Blues are doing much better than Rio (28) and London (45). However, in the final standings, France only points to 14e place on the medal table (12e in Rio), far behind China and Great Britain, ahead of Azerbaijan (10e) or Iran (13e).

→ MAINTENANCE. Paralympic Games: “Let’s show that disabled athletes exist and perform well”

The fault with the priority taking into account of the gold medals, France being satisfied with only 11 Paralympic titles. “We too often miss the top of the podiums, just as we accumulate too many fourth and fifth places, recognizes Élie Patrigeon, the general manager of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee. However, we can say to ourselves that a great dynamic is underway to perform even better in Paris in 2024..

In the satisfaction department, the Blues of cycling come largely in the lead. The eight French (plus two pilots) won 16 medals, including five gold. A real explosion compared to the poor races carried out in London (twice the bronze) or Rio (only one bronze medal).

For three years, under the leadership of former champion Laurent Thirionet who became manager of the France team, the Blues have recovered their health thanks to new human and financial resources. The budget is still well below the 8 million euros spent on paracycling by Great Britain (19 medals and 8 titles in Tokyo), but the performance bears comparison, with champions who, with one exception, were discovering the Paralympics.

Increasingly professional supervision

The same momentum is observed on the side of the 13 Blues of table tennis, who bring back 11 medals, including two in gold. The two disciplines alone provide almost half of the French balance sheet. “They reflect a general favorable development in recent years, with stronger support from the State and sponsors who provide more resources and allow better preparation with significantly more effective supervision., emphasizes Élie Patrigeon. There is a real professionalization of the training cells around the athletes, with experts in each discipline who adapt to the handicaps of the champions and not the other way around. “

This structuring effort remains to be developed in athletics and swimming, two great Paralympic sports where France still sins. Team sports also require a new mobilization. The blind football team, Paralympic vice-champion in 2012, fell from high in Tokyo, last in the tournament with four losses. That of wheelchair rugby is only fifth. And France was absent in basketball and volleyball. “It is always difficult to form teams in disabled sports”, admits Élie Patrigeon.

Paris is envisioned with enthusiasm

The downsides do not prevent the delegation from considering the next three years with gluttony. Unlike able-bodied athletes, those of the Paralympics are on the right track before Paris 2024. And the director of the Paralympic Committee is enthusiastic: “Faced with the Games that are sometimes criticized, I am convinced that the Paralympics are a tremendous source of growth for the Olympic world. “

Tony Estanguet, the president of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee, is in any case convinced that the French event must be based on these two pillars: “The success of Paris 2024 depends on the Paralympics. “ It is said.


Expand the French delegation in Paris

With 138 athletes (and 15 guides), France presented a delegation in Tokyo that was barely larger than in Rio (126). Its athletes lined up in 17 of the 22 disciplines, but were only entered in 25% of the events. “We cannot be present everywhere, but we must question ourselves in order to be capable of more diversity in the future”judge
Élie Patrigeon. Three years remain to swell the French delegation in Paris and multiply the chances of the podium.