France manager Didier Deschamps is not worried. It’s not part of his personality; he is a more pragmatic and positive guy, always trying to look at things from the positive side. However, even he must be wondering: what the hell is going on right now?

Two months before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where his side will try to become the first defending champion to retain their title since Brazil in 1962, France is in turmoil like never before. Even compared to the history of French football, which has had many tasteless stories in the past, this is unprecedented. Everything that could go wrong right now is going wrong and there are so many sources of turbulence at the same time.

- Advertisement -

– Broadcasts on Sportzshala+: La Liga, Bundesliga, MLS and more (USA)

- Advertisement -

First, it is the atmosphere in the team. On Monday, Kylian Mbappe continued to fight against the French Football Federation (FFF) over an agreement on the rights to the image of the players. The FFF (and its president, Noel Le Gré) first said back in June that they would change the agreement under pressure from Mbappe, who already complained about it in March, but nothing was done. So, Mbappe announced on Monday that he refuses to take part in events and photo shoots with the sponsors of the national team on Tuesday.

- Advertisement -

The panic was so great that an emergency meeting was called between Le Gré, Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Hugo Lloris and Deschamps, and a solution was found regarding the image rights. The agreement will be revised and amended to give players more leverage and compensation. But while Mbappe has won the battle with the Federation with the support of the team captains, it has exposed the cracks in the Blue House.

Le Gres, whose relationship with Deschamps is very strong, is also at the center of the storm. mass media in France, he was accused of sending inappropriate text messages to FFF employees and covering up or failing to act in connection with numerous incidents in French football over the past few years.

Le Grae, who is 80 years old and has two more years left as FFF President, refuses to resign, but tension around him is also indirectly built around Deschamps and his players. Last week, the head coach summarized: “The atmosphere is heavy.”

In the past few weeks, there have also been reports in the media about Paul Pogba. The Juventus midfielder is currently under police protection in Italy following recent revelations that a group of his childhood friends are trying to extort money from him. His own brother Mathias is in jail awaiting bail along with four other men, all known to Paul Pogba, after he was charged with extortion.

Pogba was injured due to a torn meniscus, but the incident is having a negative impact on him and the French national team. His teammates are worried and Deschamps is hopeful that his No. 6 can recover from his knee injury in time to be World Cup ready and also that he can overcome the injury from perceived threats and intimidation. . No one knows how Pogba will return to Deschamps and France.

There are also many minor injuries that are building up in the core of the team that is expected to compete in Qatar. Deschamps could have put a whole team on the field with missing players, and what kind of team would that be: Lloris in goal; Ibrahima Konate, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe and Theo Hernandez on defense; midfield with Pogba, Boubacar Camara, N’Golo Kante and Adrien Rabiot; with Karim Benzema and Kingsley Coman in front. And there would be subs.

At least six of these players – Lloris, the Hernandez brothers, Kante, Pogba and Benzema – are part of Deschamps’ strongest squad. They don’t all solve long-term problems, but their absence is a huge blow given that France’s upcoming UEFA Nations League games – against Austria on Thursday and Denmark on Sunday – are the last two before they kick off their World Cup campaign. v. Australia on 22 November.

It has been a nightmare for the France manager, who has not seen his players since the last international break in June, when his father died unexpectedly. Blues were terrible in his absence. (They lost to Denmark and Croatia at home and drew with Austria and Croatia.) France are bottom of their Nations League Group 1 with two points in four games and can’t face the humiliation of relegation.

The rest of the squad is of course still elite, with the likes of Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Aurélien Chouameni, Jules Kundet and Varane training. France also boasts impressive depth, with top form players like William Saliba, Mike Meignan and Olivier Giroud and promising young talents like Randal Colo Mouani, Youssouf Fofana and Benoît Badiashiel all called up for the first time.

However, even among the players gathered in Clairefontaine, there are concerns, whether in terms of fitness (Antoine Griezmann is stuck playing less than 30 minutes per game at Atlético Madrid, for example) or confidence (Christopher Nkunku struggles to find form). with RB Leipzig). . Deschamps and France are having a hard time right now, but as the coach told his players on Monday, “The only way is up.”