Home Sport “Beware of the siren song of friendship”… in the mind of Didier Deschamps

“Beware of the siren song of friendship”… in the mind of Didier Deschamps

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“Of course, they love each other like the first day. They shared the benches of the same training centers in France, kicked the ball together in Lille, Strasbourg, Rennes, Grenoble, and elsewhere. Their friendship is total, sincere, beautiful to tell, based on lives of hardship on the ground, to share the same wounds, here, the contractures of the ischio, there, the pubalgies, the tears or the sprains of the ankles. These convicts of football, who have been dating since adolescence, now in Olympus, know all the suffering they endured to come face to face, Wednesday evening, for this wonderful semi-final between France and Morocco .

All the players of the two teams have crossed paths, have lived sporting adventures hand in hand, or rather foot to foot. There is of course the very beautiful friendship between Kylian Mbappé and Achraf Hakimi, born in the PSG locker room. These two men, 23 and 24, are from the same generation, share the same musical tastes, the same social networks. They are the symbol of the symbolic, cultural bridge which has been built, thanks to football, to create an indelible link between the two countries.

The sequel after the ad

This flirtatious, almost candid speech, which I see in magazines or on the Web, leaves a strange taste in my mouth. Like a scent of defeat announced for our Blues. You ask me why? For one simple reason. A competitor is a peacetime soldier. It defends its territory with its teeth and must never make a pact with the enemy. He must not allow himself to be softened by sentimental, political or religious considerations. It is imperative that he puts the friendship away from the stadiums as much as possible. In the arenas of football, my gladiators do not have to feel sorry for the lions… of the Atlas.

A World Cup “in DD’s head”

The latter, do not worry, are on a commando mission. They are carried by a wave that overtakes them, a tsunami born in the heart of these peoples who are so in need of victories and recognition. The Moroccan team is in the process of achieving an extraordinary epic, not because they are less strong than the others, quite the contrary – I find them not only combative, united, but also furiously technical, real artists – but because they have the feeling of being actors in a destiny that transcends them. Is it an advantage against our Blues, almost jaded to have reached this stage of the competition? I’m not sure of it.

It may well be that the Moroccan team, weakened by a few injuries in its iron defense, is crushed by the weight of an almost divine mission. This exaltation, these crowds in a trance, everywhere in the Maghreb countries and in Africa, will they paralyze their charismatic leader, Amrabat, but also his teammates, put lead in their legs, or on the contrary make them run again? once like levitating gazelles?

It is for me the mystery of this match, beyond the tactical aspects, which I of course take into account. My mental approach with the Blues will be of the order of serenity, concentration, obsession with defense. Don’t get caught up in the Moroccan spider’s web and don’t let the Moroccan raids destabilize us. The watchword: extreme vigilance. We will have to police to the “n” power in our half of the field. Play the sheriffs with the Sherifians. And do not let yourself be coaxed by the siren song of friendship between peoples.

The geopolitical match: what are the issues behind the face-to-face?

On this subject, I could casually slip that relations between France and Morocco have rarely been so bad, as in Rabat, Casablanca or Tangier, our president is not on the verge of detestation, but not far, because of the honeymoon he has been living with the Algerian leaders for some time. Proof that the fraternal ties between North Africans are, for the time being, just a joke for children. Should I go that far to rouse my guys from a lethargy that I feel rising in my group, a form of nonchalant bliss that is too precocious? No, of course. But, for friendship, we will have to see after the match. We can then share tajines or chicken couscous, no problem. But only afterwards. »

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