Why did Deschamps throw his three-man defense into the dustbin of history?

RIP little dead and buried system. Wednesday around 5:00 p.m Team Pre-announced that Jonathan Clauss, but among all the recent gatherings in Blue, will not be on the trip to Qatar, we feel the strange aroma of a big rejection from Didier Deschamps. It’s the animation in 3-4-3/3-4-1-2 that we throw into the trash like a vulgar paper ball, without any other form of testing. Think if it wasn’t Klauss, how else could it have been if he wasn’t the perfect modern piston?

The confirmation came three hours later, on the set of Gilles Boulleau on TF1: there is no JC on the holy father list, no more than Lucas Digne or Ferland Mendy elsewhere. Instead, eight of the nine full-backs that will go to the World Cup are a full-back centre-back training. After the announcement, Didier Deschamps came to explain this choice at the press conference. Without beating around the bush and playing mystery games: “I confirm this, we will leave with a four-man defense.” From which action.

“We must defend well, we must defend better”

More than two years after he revolutionized his tactical system as much as his mindset – remember, it was the evening of the Blues’ 2-0 win in Albania in November 2019 – and a week before his flight to Qatar, Deschamps has therefore decided to step down suddenly. comes Should we see traces of Bucharest’s trauma during the last Euros, with that three-pronged defense almost worn out by half-time against the Swiss, resulting in a painful elimination for the Blues? Possible.

Legend has it that that evening the coach would bow to the wishes of some of his superiors who preferred this tactical system. From that failed Euro, the 98 and 2018 world champion also seems to have harbored a deep grudge, to the point of poking fun at the general excitement that hung in the air before the competition began. “In 2021 we were the prettiest, the strongest, we didn’t even have to step on the pitch to win the competition,” he said, half sarcastically, half exasperated.

So why work so hard for over a year to sweep this system back under the rug and be forgotten when it’s time to go back to coal? Because that’s how his Blues toppled Belgium and beat Spain to win their first Nations League at the end of 2021. “We have done very well in this system,” he admitted. But we were also in trouble. We’ve often been unbalanced and I know very well that to be in a big competition, if you’re not solid defensively… You have to defend well, you have to defend better, not to the detriment of the attack animation, but if I made that choice, I’m sure it’s the best because I am I made different player choices based on that system. »

Four-man defense and 12,000 questions behind

At the time, DD justified this tactical mini-revolution by “wanting to offer other possibilities on the flanks, another animation and another balance, putting Griezmann between the lines, behind the two strikers in the axis”. Shaken by the setback against Nati and cornered by the packs of his two reliable men in midfield, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante – the case of Varane, another pillar of 2018, has just returned from injury and is in dire need. game time – the boy suddenly decided to change gears. The front three will look forward to comfort and freedom, with the aim to close shop in Doha first. Asked what he intends to do this winter with the attacking trio that is the envy of the world, Deschamps replied that we want a lot from him.

“One of those players moving to the side is an option, yes,” he said. But there are others. The ideal is to put all players at their best. But there may be some minor changes. I know how to start [contre l’Australie, le 22], provided that there is nothing negative in between. »

If he knows, we don’t. We dare not imagine going back to the middle of the field with the profile of lumberjacks named on the 25th to fill the middle of the field. The problem is that otherwise it would be necessary to evolve, for example, with four attacking players in a 4-4-2 formation, which will not happen, as he showed us again on Wednesday. “The balance is more random this way. So no. I’m not saying it can be an option during a match, but first of all, no match… Those are not cones on the front, not a Playstation! If you have the ball, don’t worry, but if you don’t… You also need to address the defensive balance. Just because you put in more strikers doesn’t mean you’ll score more goals. »

Grizou in the triangle in the middle?

Unless… La Déche pulls out a surprise for us from behind the packages. In the middle, a rabbit with a hat named Griezmann. Listen instead: “Antoine is a striker, but has the ability to have a high volume of play. Even when he does attack, it doesn’t stop him from coming back too low, sometimes too much for my liking. He does that at his club too. Sometimes his position changes and is in a triangle in the middle of the field, this is not a problem for him.

Grisou, Didier Deschamps’ loyal soldier, is indeed willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the collective as long as he likes the candy on the stick. The first training sessions at Clairefontaine next Monday and Tuesday will perhaps give us the beginning of an answer. In the meantime, it will be nice to spend hours on this list, which seems like a philosophical back-pedal, when it comes to the account, the coach and he alone will pay the bill. “I trust these players,” he repeated several times in the TF1 audience on Wednesday. It remains for all of us to go with him.

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