Dembélé, in a good mood – Euro 2024 – French team

Dembélé, in a good mood – Euro 2024 – French team
Dembélé, in a good mood – Euro 2024 – French team

Ousmane Dembélé has a sense of responsibility. On Sunday, he was one of the first to express his satisfaction following the announcement of the results of the legislative elections, pushing back the threat of a National Rally majority in the Assembly. On Friday, on his home turf, he was again the first to leave the centre circle, ball in hand, to take the interminable path leading to the penalty spot. And he did not tremble when he wrong-footed Diogo Costa, who had saved three penalty kicks against Slovenia earlier in the week. That is not what allowed him to leave with the man of the match award — which could have gone to Mike Maignan or William Saliba. His entry into play in the 67th minutee minute, in place of Antoine Griezmann, changed the face of the Blues. He brought life into a team that was too often dull, after having been « pique » by his status as a substitute against Belgium (0 minutes) and Portugal.

His arrival on the pitch allowed Nuno Mendes to push back, in a left corridor where the French were struggling. His six successful dribbles in just one hour of play (a record during this Euro, tied with Jérémy Doku against Slovakia, Kylian Mbappé against Poland and João Cancelo against Slovenia) demonstrate his ability to create danger, without however managing to score (3 goals in his last 37 appearances in the tricolor jersey). « He had ants in his legsexplained Didier Deschamps after the match. He has this ability to make a difference. There are two or three shots that he could have framed better. » The « Dembouz » that we know, valuable for making differences and causing chaos, but rarely precise and clinical in the final meters. After having gone through the group stage without much panache, despite three starts, his performance in Hamburg allows him to return to the debate as the semi-final against Spain approaches.

Laughter and slippers

Since his first cap in September 2016, Dembélé has never stopped entering the coach’s plans. His numerous physical problems have not prevented La Dèche from making a place for him in each of his lists for a major competition (World Cup 2018 and 2022, Euros 2021 and 2024). « I’ve been in the selection for a few years now.he asked last month. I have more experience, I am one of the old ones. » Deschamps knows two things: his player is capable of adapting to instructions (he had defended like never before in Qatar, collapsing in the final before his exit in the 41st minute)e) ; here he is at the end of a season that saw him play 50 matches between PSG and the Blues, a first since his adventure in Dortmund in 2016-2017. That counts in the world of DD, perhaps even more than his disappointing statistical performance (5 goals, 4 assists in 48 selections).

As soon as he opens his mouth, there are three of them laughing at the table. He is always the one who encourages people to come to his room, he is a great unifier.

Youssouf Fofana

Another ace up Dembélé’s sleeve: the guy’s personality. The striker trained at Stade Rennais is a gift for a group forced to spend more than a month in a bubble. Time is shorter when Ousmane is around to let out a few jokes. His withdrawal, due to a knee injury, before the last group match of the last Euro had also weighed down the morale of the group, which did not need that to tear itself apart. « This guy is sick, but he’s so endearinglaughed Kylian Mbappé when making the introductions in West France. He has this contagious lightness, which makes him loved in every locker room he has been in. In the group, he is a major element. Frankly, you will never find a player who speaks badly to you about Ousmane Dembélé. »

His friends certainly did not forget to celebrate the title of MVP of Portugal-France awarded to their mascot. They were several to celebrate him on the pitch, before the collective gave him a warm welcome in the locker room. Earlier in the tournament, Ferland Mendy had described him as someone who « generates joy, always happy and with a smile »then Aurélien Tchouaméni as a player that « nothing affects ». Youssouf Fofana also portrayed the character this Sunday: « I’m not going to say he’s a clown either, but by his nature and his mood, he always brings a smile. As soon as he opens his mouth, there are three people laughing at the table. He’s always the one who encourages people to come to his room, he’s a great unifier. It’s important to have someone like him. » A Euro is not won only on the pitch, even if Dembélé hopes to find his place there on Tuesday evening against Spain. From the kick-off, this time.

Take your place for the So Foot evening in front of France-Spain!

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