Behind the scenes of Deschamps’ surprise 4-3-3

Behind the scenes of Deschamps’ surprise 4-3-3
Behind the scenes of Deschamps’ surprise 4-3-3

While the Blues had worked on the 4-4-2 diamond during the week, Didier Deschamps surprised everyone on Monday with the use of a hybrid 4-3-3 for the Euro round of 16 against Belgium (1-0). Explanations.

Another system was nevertheless holding the rope. Very soon after the last group match against Poland (1-1) at Euro 2024, a 4-4-2 diamond was mentioned within the France group for the round of 16. The third scheme in the competition, after the 4-2-3-1 and the flat 4-4-2. Worked on in training, particularly on the eve of the match against Belgium, this diamond system allowed Antoine Griezmann to be in the best possible position, behind the two attackers.

For the players, the situation and the role of each were clear. But Didier Deschamps ultimately decided to take everyone by surprise, including his players. “Maybe the night gave the coach advice,” smiled Aurélien Tchouaméni after the qualification of the Blues for the quarter-finals.

Discussions with some executives on Monday morning

On Monday morning, match day, the coach spoke with some key players, including Antoine Griezmann, positioned on the right of a 4-3-3, the system chosen by Didier Deschamps.

“The coach came to my room and told me. I said ‘go coach, let’s go’. The last time (I played on the wing) was at Real Sociedad but on the left side. Maybe even in the national team with Dimitri Payet on the left. I had to adapt. I felt good. I tried to find depth and make runs in the middle to leave Jules (Koundé) all alone. I had two or three positions where I could have shot and I didn’t. I looked for one-twos,” confided the Atlético de Madrid player.

Surprise the Belgians, put Mbappé in the best conditions, and Griezmann to block the right corridor

But why change the system at the last moment? Perhaps to surprise the Belgians, who were aware of the possibility of the 4-4-2 diamond, since the information began to circulate in the press four days before the match. The Red Devils expected to have more space in the wings to allow Jérémy Doku and Yannick Carrasco to hit on the wings. No doubt also so that Jules Koundé would have support on the right side. But the aim of the 4-3-3 was also to put Kylian Mbappé in the best conditions, namely on the left side, where he has always shone.

The final decision was announced to the players at 3:45 p.m. during the pre-match talk, then revealed by RMC Sport before the clash.

A decision so surprising that some observers were doubtful about this sudden change. Eyes, at the start of the match, were fixed on the positioning of Antoine Griezmann, well positioned on the right and often stuck to the line. A choice not necessarily paying off, even if the Blues won.

Fabrice Hawkins, with Analie Simon

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