French team: Didier Deschamps turns on Hubert Fournier!


By: Manu Tournoux

This Thursday, Didier Deschamps revealed the list of players selected for the friendly matches against Germany and Chile. An important moment since it was the last list before that which will give the names of the lucky ones selected to compete in Euro 2024 in Germany. This press conference was also an opportunity for the press to follow up with the coach on several hot issues such as the future of Kylian Mbappé, the long suspension of Paul Pogba or even the traditional questions about those absent from the list. But in the end, it was a rather unexpected subject which caused Didier Deschamps’ most notable media outing.

On February 9, the national technical director (DTN) Hubert Fournier formalized the launch of a program aimed at improving the chances of French success during penalty shootouts. An exercise for which Deschamps and Hugo Lloris have often been criticized for having described these sessions as a “lottery”. “He is the one responsible and everything starts from him,” he said. Both the setup, the weeks or days before the possible penalty shootout, to prepare the players. He will have to offer them a scenario while trying as much as possible to contextualize the penalty shootout. And then he will have to offer them varied exercises which will allow them to create personal confidence among the shooters. And then we will also have to prepare, in the same way as that for the match, a real strategy linked to this specificity that is shooting on goal.confided Fournier on RMC.

“What bothers me and is inappropriate is the exit from the DTN”

Will the coach use it to best prepare for the Euro? Questioned on this subject, DD reaffirmed his convictions, while publicly reframing Hubert Fournier. “I was able to use the word lottery. It is a balance of power between the shooter and the goalkeeper. I don’t think it can be worked on. We had players who could take penalties. I am convinced that, and my past as a player gives me certainty, that it is impossible to recreate the same psychological and athletic conditions in training as in a match with 120 minutes overtime. (…) I have no problem with studies being done. What bothers me and is inappropriate is the release of the DTN (Hubert Fournier, editor’s note). It’s disrespectful, and not just towards me, but towards all the coaches, who prepare the penalty shootouts and when you see the studies, there are examples and counter-examples. And that concerns the women, who worked on it, but it did not lead to success for them in the quarterfinals. Do sessions only on that… These are competent guys who prepare, we know that not all matches lead to penalties”he declared, before continuing his long monologue, visibly annoyed by this subject.

“Psychologically, taking a penalty in training or at the end of a match… obviously it’s something to prepare for. I repeat, it is a balance of power. You saw yesterday (Atlético-Inter). There were shots on goal that were stopped. Lautaro, it would be nice if he did the same in 2022. To talk about the France A team, I stay in my place, we had two penalty shootouts, two negative. Since I took office, there were 18 matches that were affected by possible penalties. We only had two, so that represents 15%. (…) I make sure to understand, to be corporate, I rely heavily on the DTN, but there may be bad intentions on the part of certain personalities, it is common knowledge. » The message got through…

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