France, the defending World Champions, is one of the participants for Euro 2020. As part of their World title defense, they’re looking to win the European title. They want to repeat what they did from 1998 to 2000, winning the Euro title as the defending World Cup champions. In other words, they’re looking to continue their winning ways and add to their list of accomplishments.
As the defending World Champions, France is under tremendous pressure. France is considered a favorite to win Euro 2020. In addition, France is in the same group as Germany and Portugal. So to say that France is under tremendous pressure would be a major understatement. Furthermore, to say that France is in for a huge challenge would be an understatement.
What Challenges Are In Store For Les Bleus?
France is a long way from being ready for Euro 2020. The team is dealing with injuries, which includes the likes of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Samuel Umtiti, and several key players who were on the World Cup-winning squad. Injuries put France at a disadvantage and without their key players, France is in a predicament. A predicament that if unsolved, they finish in disappointing fashion. At any rate, they need a fully healthy squad by the time Euro 2020 arrives.
Aside from injuries, France’s form lately has been mediocre. Despite topping their group in the qualifying phase, they did not put up resounding performances. Their Euro 2020 qualifying phase finished as a reminiscent of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign; mediocre and unconvincing. A series of blunders and missed chances is the highlight of their mediocre performance during qualifiers. This is a result of a lack of concentration and poor mentality. In France’s case, this is unacceptable.
It’s time for France to get its act together and formulate a plan. First things first, everyone needs to heal up and be 100 percent. Manager Didier Deschamps will need to make the right selection for the squad that will participate. He’ll need a team not only with talent and experience but also concentration and motivation. In addition, he needs a team that is well-disciplined. With all of those key aspects, he’ll have a team that has the necessary quality to win it all; a winning mentality.
Euro 2020 is a little over six months from now. The team has more than enough time to get ready. With all the big expectations on them, they should take their time to get ready. France may play one or two exhibition games before the tournament. Positive results will show their progress in preparation. In addition, players will need to put up positive results in club play. Results in club play are how the French squad is selected for tournaments. It’s all about results.
When it comes to pressure, it’s the national team’s mortal enemy. France is known for cracking under pressure. However, on a positive note, France has survived and exceeded expectations despite the heavy pressure. In other words, France has had a life-long feud with pressure. A feud that never seems to end.
France knows it’s under immense pressure. But they can’t allow the pressure to affect them. In other words, instead of letting the pressure scare them, they need to use it as motivation. In addition, concentration is their primary source for countering the pressure sitting on their shoulders.
Part of their preparation process is getting ready to deal with and survive under pressure. In the World Cup, they managed to survive under pressure going against the likes of Argentina, Uruguay, and Belgium in the knockout stages. Especially after a disappointing performance in the group stage. That being said, France ought to know how to deal with the pressure because of their experience and recent success. It’ll depend on how focused they’ll be when the time comes.
Every game counts. France has to take every game seriously. Especially in the group stage. In this case, since they’re taking on two European heavyweights, they can’t take their group stage run lightly. They know that one loss in the group stage deeply affects them. Sloppy play and underperforming is not an option for Les Bleus.
Everyone must be on the same page. Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante, Raphael Varane, Benjamin Pavard, Blaise Matuidi, etc. Same strategy from the World Cup in 2018; trust and teamwork. They all need to do their job and win as a team. Les Bleus must play every game with the mindset of a champion. Their mentality should tell them that they can only settle for wins. No draws, no losses. In other words, they’re the World Champions, so they must act like it.
France’s opening game for Euro 2020 is against Germany. A rematch of their semifinal encounter at Euro 16. It’ll be followed by a rematch of the Euro 16 final against Portugal. Their fourth opponent won’t be revealed until next March as the final four spots for the tournament are still up for grabs via the playoffs. While this is a major challenge for Les Bleus, at the same time, it should be exciting. Again, overcoming tough challenges can motivate them further. But at the same time, France can’t get cocky. Cockiness will spoil them.
When France won Euro 2000, they became the first national team to win the Euro as the World Champions. In France wins Euro 2020, they’ll be the first team to win the Euro as the World Champions twice. The opportunity to make history ought to increase France’s confidence and motivation. In addition, that ought to remind them that failure is not an option.