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Ireland-France: with the Blues, an attacker can hide another


A few centimeters away, his name could pass to posterity. How can we forget this strike, deflected in extremis by the calf of Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, in the last seconds of extra time in the World Cup final?

Three months later, the name of Randal Kolo Muani seems obvious to occupy the position of central striker for the France team. If he did not score one of the four tricolor goals Friday at the Stade de France against the Dutch, the 24-year-old player performed a promising performance, in line with his entries during the game against Morocco and Argentina, in the semi-finals and in the final of the World Cup in Qatar.

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Although he touched fewer balls (29 in total) than any other holder among the French outfielders, Kolo Muani showed his ability to strike, with a preference on the right wing of the attack. Involved in the first goal, serving as support for Antoine Griezmann, he also served as a decoy for Kylian Mbappé on the action of the third goal concluded by the new captain.

Kolo Muani should still feature in Didier Deschamps’ starting XI for the match in Ireland on Monday March 27 (8:45 p.m. PST). Present at a press conference on the eve of the match, Kylian Mbappé took the opportunity to weave laurels to his teammate: “He is complete and has an impressive stroke volume (…). Tomorrow, we will make sure that he scores” at Dublin.

“With Kylian, they are complementaryobserves Claude Puel, former coach of AS Monaco, LOSC (Lille), Olympique Lyonnais and AS Saint-Etienne, interviewed by The Team. Kolo Muani is able to win balls, to be altruistic, to weigh, to take space, we feel he is confident too. »


We would almost forget that the former Nantes player has only six appearances for the France team to his credit. Moreover, the player, who now plays for a club at Eintracht Frankfurt – eleven goals and twelve assists in twenty-four games in the German championship this season – was not even on Didier Deschamps’ initial list for go to Qatar.

At number nine, three players were ahead of him in the hierarchy established by the coach in the fall: Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) and Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig). The first would hold throughout the competition, the other two missed the meeting through injury. And an attacker who can hide another, Kolo Muani was called in as last minute reinforcement by the coach.

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Friday, at the Stade de France, Giroud was on the substitutes bench. At 36, the end of the adventure with the selection of the top scorer in the history of the Blues is approaching. Benzema had already announced his international retirement the day after the World Cup final. His story with the Blues ended with a lot of bitterness. As for Nkunku, he was not called up for this rally, due to a new muscular injury contracted at the beginning of the month.

Given the way the French validated their victory on Friday at the Stade de France, no one mentioned the absentees. “France is a very strong team, (…) complete, very physical, with a lot of speed especially in attack, world class players in all sectors”bowed the coach of the Netherlands, Ronald Koeman, in a press conference.

Plethoric choice

“There is this intelligence in the movements of the front three which posed difficulties for the opponent”retained for his part his counterpart of the Blues, Didier Deschamps, at the end of the first match of this qualifying campaign for the Euro, the final phase of which will take place in Germany in 2024 (from June 14 to July 14).

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Monday, on the lawn of the Aviva Stadium (Dublin) which still bears the traces of the Irish coronation in the Six Nations Tournament on the weekend of Saint Patrick, the Blues will challenge Ireland. Kingsley Coman should once again complete the tricolor attacking trio alongside the two players from Bondy (Seine-Saint-Denis), Randal Kolo Muani and Kylian Mbappé.

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Less prominent than his two attacking partners against the Batavians, Coman was also confined to a substitute role in Qatar. In the position of right winger, we then found Ousmane Dembélé, absent on injury for this rally in March.

To these attackers, all year-round holders among the best European teams, are added the options Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) and Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), launched in the second half against the Dutch.

Not to mention players like Wissam Ben Yedder (AS Monaco) or Alexandre Lacazette (Olympique Lyonnais). Authors of seventeen goals each in Ligue 1 this season, they would be invaluable for many coaches, but due to the tough competition among the Blues they will still watch the match at home. To face Ireland and the months to come, Didier Deschamps has the king’s choice with this plethoric pool in attack.

Ireland-France, Monday March 27 (8:45 p.m.). On TF1 and to follow live on