From our Special Envoy in Doha,
“Halalalala is terrible! After a titanic fight between Didier Deschamps, in the left corner, and Destiny, in the right corner, it is Destiny who wins by K.-O. after an uppercut of incredible violence right in the ultra-bright teeth of our coach. He won’t recover.”
The terrible announcement of Karim Benzema’s package for the World Cup, which fell unceremoniously at 11:37 p.m. very precisely on Saturday evening, is the last stab in the back of a DD already damn badly damaged by the combined absences of Pogba, Kanté, Maignan , Kimpembe and Nkunku. Despite a press release which is intended to be positive if not reassuring, in which the French coach claims to have “full confidence in [son] group” and wanting to “do everything to meet the immense challenge that awaits us”, the heart is gone.
A few days ago, when we were talking to him about the curse of the world champion, who in the last three editions has come out like a mess from the group stage (Italy 2010, Spain 2014 and Germany 2018, without forgetting France in 2002), the Basque had a ready-made answer: “You don’t don’t manage to undermine my morale”. On the morning of Sunday, November 20, we bet (reluctantly) our meager savings that it’s not really the same music in his head.
But why complain? What’s done is done would any good happiness manager tell us, patting us gently on the back of the shoulder. With a little hindsight, we have to say to ourselves that it is perhaps better that way in the end. Given Benzema’s state of form in recent weeks, there was no chance of seeing him at more than 50% during this World Cup, not to mention that we could have lost him along the way at the first acceleration one roof was not very frank in the second game, which would still have been a drama of another level.
The intergalactic scoumoune of the Blues
So of course, this umpteenth twist in the life of the Blues looks like the coup de grace. And we can easily imagine the pain that must have been that of KB9 when it came time to record his decision, which he did with class, and to board the Qatar Airways flight QR149 at 8:08 am towards Madrid-Barajas. Imagine, it was probably the last chance of his life to become world champion, the year of his Ballon d’Or moreover. But let’s be realistic: who could honestly think that we were going to achieve a double that only Italy (1934, 1938) and Brazil (1958, 1962) have managed, at a time when football had nothing to do with what it is today when it comes to adversity?
It would also be very heretical to speak of a “curse” to evoke the case of the last winners, because that would suggest that these failures are the responsibility of some divine fate and not of perfectly rational facts. This is the famous refrain taken up by Deschamps since the start of the rally: “It’s an observation, it’s factual, but the very high level. There is only one team that wins the World Cup, only one. And that’s only every four years. It’s hard to win it and reach the highest level, but it’s even harder to stay there. Before the news of Benzema’s package fell, we had also talked about it with Jérôme Rothen, the former international who became a star host at RMC, who will broadcast the 64 World Cup matches on his airwaves.
“It’s always very complicated to keep your title, it’s not a scoop, history has shown it to us almost every time. It shows how difficult it is to renew yourself, to question yourself. I think for any high-level competitor, the biggest difficulty is there, abounds the old silky left paw. Achieving individually and collectively not to be self-satisfied with what you did four years ago. The first opponent is yourself. »
So much for the first stage of the rocket. “And then there are the others who are more suspicious of you than they were four years ago,” he continues. Today, even if there was a failure at the Euro in the meantime, you are still the team to beat. There are the group nations that start further away, but then you have the other favorites that you will potentially come across on your way. We can mention Argentina and Brazil of course, but I would add Spain, Portugal and even Germany, which nobody talks about but which in my opinion will not be far away, the Netherlands too. It’s very complicated to play these opponents who, in addition to having quality, will be suspicious and will have a motivation that may be greater than yours. »
Remember beautiful things
If we accept this starting point, Benzema’s withdrawal is nothing but the last nail in the coffin of our irrational hopes. And then let’s know how to keep memory. What other nation than France has had the privilege of experiencing so many victories over the last quarter of a century, huh, which one? ! None, except perhaps the invincible Spain of the years 2008-2012 (a World Cup and two Euros). Not to mention that the France team has three finals out of the last six World Cups, excuse me. On this subject, we already wondered before the coronation in Russia if, contrary to what we often think of ourselves, we were not ultimately a great footballing nation.
Jérôme Rothen, again: “Football is unfair that we forget very quickly, too quickly, and we remain focused on the last failures. We get used to luxury. You have to remember what we ate from the 90s, after the 86 World Cup, until 98. Come on, until Euro 96. We had ten years of hunger [sans compter la traversée du désert des années 60-70]. But since then, despite a few booster shots and a few big slaps (2008, 2010), we have still been served. Then I can understand, human beings are like that, they become more and more demanding. »
If the human being with a short memory and that he is often detestable, we still see him after this COP27 which leads us straight to our extinction while sipping a mojito from the bar car, let’s recognize him at least one thing , it’s that it’s great that his ability to adapt is limitless. The fear of emptiness means that as soon as France-Australia kicks off on Tuesday evening, we will already be in the post-Benzema era. Asked about it in conf on Sunday evening, Ibrahima Konaté even got ahead of us on the schedule: “It hurts but our objective does not change. We have a match that is coming very quickly and if we dwell on it, it could be complicated. “However, the packages accumulated in recent weeks must lead the tricolor supporters to review their level of requirement.
No more pressure guys, let’s go and we’ll see
Basically, what has changed with Benzema’s package, if not the degree of requirement of the French people? The starting equation remains essentially the same.
- Either we go out prematurely, say in 8th, or even in pool like the 2006, 2010 and 2014 world champions, and we will say to ourselves that it is the sense of history, that we must leave room for others. And then that in any case we never really felt this World Cup of the underworld.
- Either we reach at least the quarter-finals and we can only salute the mental resources of this group of 26, probably in PLS after the cleaver Benzema.
- Either we go straight to the end, and there the world is not ready for what will follow. Was French arrogance our trademark internationally? You thought we couldn’t be any more hateful? hold our beers !
This being said, we will end with a message to Benzema if you allow us: Karim, dry your tears. You’ve seen others crossing the desert and that’s not going to stop you. Your mental strength and your hard work make us think that, ultimately, the 2026 World Cup in the United States is not so far away. Admit that it will be more exciting to lift it in Miami than in the Qatari desert.