Belgium and Germany eliminated, the 2022 World Cup continues to surprise

Thunderbolt on planet football. Respectively ranked 2nd and 11th in the FIFA rankings, Belgium, third in the last world in 2018, and Germany, world champion in 2014, will not see the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar. At the heart of these early eliminations that defy predictions hides a common root: the failed mix of different generations.

Belgium and its “too old” players

Three small games and then go away. All with a bang. If the comparison with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the French team may seem daring, there are similarities. The Belgian selection, semi-finalist of the last Russian World Cup, went through the back door and left Qatar in the group stages, after its draw against Croatia (0-0). The selection pays for its failed start to the World Cup, after a narrow victory against Canada (1-0) and a crushing defeat against Morocco (2-0).

Beyond the poor sporting performance, the Red Devils have been undermined by internal conflicts, symbol of a golden generation at the end of the cycle. The Belgian metronome, Kevin de Bruyne, distinguished himself, at the end of the match against Morocco, with a resounding declaration, stipulating that his selection was not capable of winning a World Cup because the players were “too old”. The next day, the Belgian press relayed that in the locker room a fight had broken out between the latter and one of his teammates, veteran Jan Vertonghen (35), who had obviously had little taste for the words of his compatriot.

Bad results, murderous statements, tensions in the locker room… All the ingredients for an early exit from the road were there. The fate of the coach, the Spaniard Roberto Martinez is already sealed: the latter resigned this Thursday, December 1st.

Germany and the heavy heritage

Another major nation eliminated, Germany. The Mannschaft no longer had its destiny in hand since its inaugural defeat against Japan (2-1). In fact, the unexpected victory of the same Japan against Spain, obtained with the same score and with a disputed second goal, eliminated them, despite the victory of the Germans against the Costa Ricans (4-2). Spain, she is doing, leaving her Germanic rival on the sidelines.

For the 2014 world champion, the blow is hard. This second consecutive elimination from the group stages of a World Cup, after 2018, is a “absolute disaster” who “hurts unbelievably”acknowledged striker Thomas Müller after a meeting led by French referee Stéphanie Frappart, the first woman to lead a men’s World Cup match.

Less than two years before organizing Euro 2024, the German selection must transform. An operation already launched by coach Hans-Dieter Flick who took over the reins of the selection in August 2021, after fifteen years spent under the leadership of Joachim Löw. By no longer selecting certain 2014 world champions, the new coach wanted to make way for a whole new generation of talent.

But the method proved unconvincing, forcing him to review his copy during complicated playoffs. After three years without selection, Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels were recalled. Germany qualifies but does not wipe the doubts. Two generations, the veterans and the youngsters, must learn to play together but cannot find the level displayed by the Mannschaft during the Brazilian World Cup.

Realistically, Thomas Müller mentioned, at the end of the match against Costa Rica, his possible end to his international career: “For me, it’s an absolute disaster, if it were to be my last game. It hurts incredibly, because our result could have been enough. We have a feeling of helplessness. » Evasive, the emblematic striker could not hide a touch of emotion: “I did it with love (wearing the jersey of the selection), but for the rest I must first think. »

An emotion shared by football fans, who see two great nations fall prematurely. The two behemoths will have two years to rebuild, before the Euro. Until then, this amazing Qatari World Cup should hold other surprises.



How the Tour de France strives to constantly revive its legend

The Tour rewinds, always and more. His hours of glory, his legend that he never stops telling. The day before yesterday, it was back to 1986. The Col du Granon like thirty-six years earlier, when Bernard Hinault gave up his last yellow tunic to his American successor Greg LeMond. The same were summoned to L’Alpe d’Huez this Thursday, July 14, the day’s stage reproducing very exactly that where the two teammates arrived at the top of the mythical 21 laces hand in hand, Hinault confirming the transfer of power, one of the greatest moments in the history of the Tour de France.

It is the memory of another famous episode which is reactivated this Saturday, July 16, with the 14e stage linking Saint-Étienne to Mende, in the heart of Lozère. This simple title instantly sends lovers of the little queen back to the year 1995. On July 14, exactly, the day when King Miguel Indurain wavered on his throne as the future five-time winner of the Grande Boucle. The fault of a certain Laurent Jalabert, author of an exceptional fireworks display for the National Day. A long-distance breakaway of 198 km with a handful of hungry adventurers, who would count up to 10 minutes and 50 seconds ahead of the peloton. Suffice to say that the Frenchman was a yellow jersey for a while.

“It is important to know where you come from”

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream ithe agreed after the finish. But we would have had to increase our lead to fifteen minutes.. In advance, he did not have enough, but panache, yes, to spare. In the last 3 km climb, the Tarnais tore away to sow his epic companions and win one of the greatest victories of his career by crossing the line more than five minutes before the leaders. Ten years later, the climb of his feat in Mende could be renamed “Montée Jalabert”.

While all sports have had a great time in recent years spinning the nostalgic merry-go-round, cycling has won the pompom. Giving in to “it was better before”? ” No wayassures Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour. We certainly make many tributes and other anniversaries, but it is because I consider it important to know where we come from, especially in a period when memory seems to be erased at very high speed. Telling is also transmitting, and I want to. »

“Seduce the older generations”

An interest also underlined by Jean-François Mignot, sociologist author in 2014 of a History of the Tourof France (1): “The Tour is a show that is often watched as a family, and the reference to yesterday’s stages makes it possible to seduce the older generations, who can pass the torch to the new ones. This dimension of the television show is essential: the stages are long and not always much happens. The legend of the Tour is a reservoir of easy-to-use anecdotes, like the history of France with all the heritage content of the broadcasts. It is the almost indispensable coating of the race. »

If recourse to the glorious era seems more important today than yesterday, it is perhaps also that the years of doping and the suspicion that still lurks prevent total adherence to today’s heroes. “Comparing current runners to great elders helps to establish their present aura, to include them in an ongoing story”, continues Jean-François Mignot. Stages as whirlwind as that of the Granon this Wednesday, with the surging attacks of the Jumbo-Visma team ending up exhausting Tadej Pogacar, too isolated, to put the yellow jersey on the shoulders of the Dane Jonas Vingegaard, reveal new high chapters in colour.

Reviving the legend

Imperishable Tour de France? “Perhaps the International Cycling Union and the organizer ASO should still review their formula, which has been available for ages without much change.judge the historian and sociologist Philippe Gaboriau. Like the Dakar, the Tour remains a mechanical epic with traveling shots over beautiful landscapes and does not say much about what the bicycle is today, a mobility tool in a society that must think about energy sobriety. The legend is obviously not dead, but it needs to be revived, in my opinion. Because otherwise, the Tour risks no longer being in tune with the times. »

A subject of reflection, no doubt, for its organizers. The departure from Denmark this year, a country that worships two-wheelers in all its forms, may be a sign of a change of gear. To confirm.


Saint-Étienne, cycling history at its heart

Saint-Étienne is the arrival town of the 13e stage which starts from Bourg-d’Oisans, this Friday July 15 (192 km). The Loire prefecture, visited for the 27e times since 1950, is a regular on the Tour. It was in this historic city of cycling that the first French bicycle was born in 1886, very quickly mass-produced by the ancestor of Manufrance under the Hirondelle brand. The adventure lasted until the end of the 1970s, when local manufacturing died out in the face of Asian competition. Saint-Étienne remains the only city, with the metropolis of Toulon, labeled “Land of cycling excellence” by the French Cycling Federation. The now repeated hope of the current mayor, Gaël Perdriau: one day to host a Grand Départ of the Tour.

(Archives – Video of 03/07/2017)



Euro 2021: a halt for Didier Deschamps

The greatest players can miss a match or miss a penalty like this unfortunate Kylian Mbappé. However, we don’t throw them away, and that’s fine. The same leniency must therefore apply to Didier Deschamps, who knows his responsibility involved in the defeat of the French against the Swiss in the round of 16 of the Euro – but who does not deserve to forget everything the good he has done for French football.

The coach was hardly convinced on the whole of a competition managed from start to finish with betting blows. Only one success in four games, the record is not up to the standing of a reigning world champion. A few minutes after the final whistle, Monday evening, Didier Deschamps already knew he was under fire from critics.

“My responsibility”

“When the France team wins the credit always goes to the players, it’s always like that. When things go less well it’s my responsibility ”, he conceded, aware that the rumor machine might get carried away. SWill he still be there in September for the resumption of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers? “It is planned, yes”, he replied curtly to the microphone of BeIN Sports.

Does the shadow of Zinédine Zidane already hover over the blue ground? Air known and already sung in 2013 after the jump-off against Ukraine, which had turned out well on the return. And especially during the not very reassuring group stage of the Blues at the 2018 World Cup. We know the rest: the double world champion as player and coach silenced the critics, leading his men to the 2014 World Cup (elimination narrowly in the quarter-finals), in the final of Euro 2016, then at the top of the world in 2018.

Still, his management of the first half against Switzerland remains as a model not to be followed. This choice to be satisfied with three defenders, two of whom, Raphaël Varane and Presnel Kimpembe, at work stations unusual for them, was unwelcome. And what about this middle five depriving the two defensive lungs, N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba, of their workspace? The developer of the Deschamps device, Paul Pogba, very quickly realized it, multiplying the reels and the puzzled slugs in the direction of a boss who will take forty minutes to accept that he had taken a wrong turn.

Three game systems in one game

Returning to a classic four-man defense, the coach did not realize that his right-back, Benjamin Pavard, was out of the game, as for several games. Overtaken in the duels – it is besides him which costs the penalty of the second half – he could have been replaced by Jules Koundé at the half-time. And was it still necessary to change the device when leaving the locker room? Three systems in one game is a lot for a world champion team who is supposed to impose their game and their strengths on their opponents.

→ ANALYSIS. French football team: what has already changed Karim Benzema

We could multiply the questions, even the criticisms which we know are easy after a failed exercise. Has the physical management of a group decimated by injuries been up to par? Was it appropriate to trust only the same attacking trio?

The Karim Benzema paradox

In the light of disillusionment, all these questions arise. Including the most paradoxical, which concerns Karim Benzema, the most successful player with Paul Pogba. The Madrilenian managed his Euro with four goals, but he sucked in a lot of attentions and assists, depriving his two comrades, Mbappé and Griezmann, who missed their subject, except in the first game against the ‘Germany. These three boys had only played together twice before the Euro. So bring Benzema back to the Blues, maybe, but why so soon before the tournament?

All these questions, Didier Deschamps must be the first to formulate them for himself. And if the question of her retention is not yet relevant, she could come back in the fall if the first games in September, against Bosnia and Ukraine, in the World Cup qualifiers, do not happen. good.


An incomparable track record

Coach of the Blues (since 2012). Quarter-finalist at the 2014 World Cup, finalist at Euro 2016 and world champion in 2018.

Club coach (2001-2011). Champions League final, lost against Real Madrid in Monaco (2005). Return to series A with Juventus Turin (2006-2007) which had been demoted on green carpet. Title of champion of France 2010 and three cups of the League with Olympique de Marseille (2010, 2011, 2012).

Player (1985-2000). Twice champion of France with Marseille (1990, 1992), three times champion of Italy with Juventus (1995, 1996, 1997). Twice winner of the Champions League with Marseille (1993) and Juventus (1996). World (1998) and European (2000) champion.



Euro 2021: Christian Eriksen, the Danish victim of cardiac arrest, is better

Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, who suffered cardiac arrest during the Denmark-Finland game on Saturday June 12, said “To be fine despite the circumstances”, in a message posted Tuesday on his Instagram account. “I still have to do tests at the hospital but I feel good”, he wrote under a picture of himself smiling, thumbs up, on his hospital bed.

“Now I will support the guys from the Danish team for the next matches. Play for all of Denmark », added the 29-year-old, who also thanked his fans for all of their messages.

→ READ. French football team: what Karim Benzema has already changed

“No explanation” for this discomfort

Saturday, towards the end of the first period of Denmark-Finland, far from the ball and any opponent, Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the field, his eyes rolled back. On Sunday, the selection doctor Morten Boesen had said no “No explanation” to this discomfort. “He was gone and we did a heart massage to revive him. It was a cardiac arrest ”, he had explained.

→ PRACTICAL. Euro 2021: what you need to know about the regulations of the European Football Championship