The friendly match on Tuesday (21 pm, live on the Point.fr) between France and Russia does not, on paper, the most transcendental arguments. Yet this meeting could be a turning point of the road the Blues to their summer goal to win the Euro. There are almost 18 years, the France team became world champion at home. Since the origins of the tricolor success were rehashed, peeled, analyzed from every angle. Undertake this flashback is necessarily remember that night in March 1998 when France football has believed lose some of his illusions on the road to its World.
That day, the France team is in Russia to compete there – like Tuesday – one of its latest games before the publication of the list of players selected for the World Cup. Zidane Lama, Barthez, Trezeguet Blanc or are absent. Some of aligned elements clearly play their way into the final group. Of the 16 players used this March 25, 1998 by Aimé Jacquet, 8 of them (Letizi, Lamouchi, Guivarc’h, Diomedes, Candela, Keller, Boghossian, Pires), while fewer than 10 selections.
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Faced with reduced assistance from Dynamo Stadium (less than 7000 spectators to a capacity of 36 000 seats) and a lawn that is not one, the game quickly turns into a fiasco. Especially for Lionel Letizi, which then evolves FC Metz and fight with RC Lens for the title of champion of France. Letizi, who honors his second selection, postulates a third goalkeeper spot at the Blues. But in the 2nd minute, following a pass from Leboeuf, it totally lacks control and offers Yuran the only goal of the match. 1-0 final score, after a party during which the Blues will rarely see as dull.
Two months later, the ax falls. Jacquet chose 22 players from a list that had previously reduced to 28. A list that does not include nor Lamouchi Letizi, holders against Russia and lost big in Moscow. One because of his mistake, the other for not having seized the opportunity to illuminate the tricolor play without Zidane.
How important in the choice of Deschamps?
Today, it is clear that poor match in Russia, played before a handful of spectators at the end of winter with a revamped team, contributed to the reflection of Aimé Jacquet in his choice group. Will be there as well on Tuesday, with this friendly match placed just before the crucial deadlines in the Champions League? The opposition should in any case allow players still in balance in the head of Didier Deschamps to shoot, for some, their last cards. The test will be all the more valuable that Russia has made a habit of not lower their heads before the France team and navigates, too, on the horizon, a competition organized at home (Cup world in 2018, Ed). The historical record of confrontations is balanced (2 wins everywhere, 1 draw, 5 clashes).
Another feat of arms: between their triumph in 1998 and the Euro 2000, the Blues have lost only 2 times in 34 outings. Once at the Stade de France. … Against Russia (2-3) in 1999 during the qualifying campaign for the Euro. A setback that had halted a series of 27 unbeaten competitive matches, although he has not hindered the path of the French to the coronation at the European Championship 2000. Tuesday, Deschamps Blues evolve somewhere on air of deja vu. The coach including, since the five Russian-French opposition, he has already taken part in four of them as a player.