Soccer. Emmanuel Petit: “In 2002, we have been in illustration” – Soccer

Regardless of the context: the Blues arrive in Qatar with a title of world champions to defend. How do you see them dealing with it?

They arrive with a lot much less certainty and ensures than in 2018 and are inevitably anticipated as a result of they’re reigning world champions, however a number of water has handed underneath the bridge. They arrive within the footwear of a favorite, however injured, who appears much less glowing than 4 years in the past. However this World Cup is so bizarre, with out preparation… Some groups have been capable of adapt higher, relying on their calendar, just like the South American or Asian groups. They benefited from a extra in depth preparation part. Mexico, for instance, is already reunited, they’ve already performed two friendlies… One can marvel why the European competitions continued to play final weekend. Normally, there are a number of questions for everybody and never only for France.

You skilled this case as reigning world champion in 2002, with, within the meantime, a European title obtained in 2000. What was the way of thinking?

(He cuts off the top of the query). Within the group ? It was too festive in 2002. After the double, we have been an ageing crew, main gamers had been injured earlier than the competitors (Pirès and Zidane). Furthermore, there’s a sure mimicry with the present French crew: with the accidents of Pogba and Kanté, it’s 75% of the midfielder of the crew who’s absent, us, it was the identical. Total, it was the top of the cycle, the top of the season the place the executives have been on their knees, we had no spring to assist. We not had the niaque.

Emmanuel Petit at Clairefontaine earlier than Euro 1992. (File picture Le Télégramme)

How did you cope with this stress of the title to defend?

We had completed one thing that nobody had ever completed earlier than. I would not go as far as to say that we had a sense of impunity, however a totem. The decline was predictable, we have been on the finish of the cycle. We could not do anything, however there may very well be one other means out. It is the best way we bought out that is debatable. We have been actually on the finish of the cycle. Like Spain, we crashed miserably. Nevertheless it’s human, you may’t solely achieve success.

The brand new ones of the time didn’t deliver the anticipated freshness?

It was above all of the absence of sure main gamers that was problematic. It’s performed within the capacity to handle feelings, to resist stress and to be mentally robust. It is a freshness that we did not have on the time. We tried, however we have been rinsed, everybody got here out of matches bodily cooked. There have been no elements. Even the logistics have been incorrect, there was a bar downstairs from the resort, all of the journalists… We felt like we have been performing reasonably than competing. We had a standing to defend and it was in peril. A bit just like the France crew right now, however the group is youthful than ours, the margin is bigger and there may be such a reservoir, such potential. That is the massive distinction with us. We have been in a position to attract the quintessence of this group, however the fall was predictable. The present France crew just isn’t in the identical temper.

Solely two nations have managed to retain their title for the reason that first World Cup: Italy and Brazil**. Is not there a curse?

It is like within the Champions League, it is tremendous exhausting to maintain a title! It is simply the historical past of sport: it is troublesome to maintain your rank, the others need to beat you much more and mark their historical past. I do not assume we arrive in Qatar within the footwear of a favorite, however of an outsider, who can turn into a favorite. We arrive injured, however the historical past of sport and French soccer maybe exhibits us that it’s a constructive level to not have many certainties.

France's forward Kylian Mbappe (L) and France's forward Karim Benzema (R) attend a training session at the team's training camp in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines, south of Paris, on November 15, 2022, fiv
Kylian Mbappe will lead the assault of the French crew on the 2022 World Cup, 4 years after having actively participated within the title of world champion received in Russia. (Photograph Bertrand Guay/AFP)

Of the final 5 world champions in title earlier than the Blues, 4 didn’t come out of the swimming pools on the next version. The place is most the rationale for these failures: within the successful group, or within the adversaries?

A little bit of each. Many issues come into consideration. There’s the administration of the coach, too, to not stay restricted on the selection of sure gamers, even when some are disappointing, as a result of there are sufficient choices on the offensive degree. Then, all the key nations that received, of their overwhelming majority, did so by groups that completed as one of the best protection within the event. It goes in opposition to romanticism, ambient discourse, however you must make it possible for behind, it is hell for the opposing crew.

Can France break this curse?

The primary match is at all times essential in a pool of 4. Australia has at all times been an issue for us, however I’m satisfied that the French crew will have the ability to discover the weapons to defend their title. The ultimate of this group will probably be performed within the second match, in opposition to Denmark, which advances within the pores and skin of just a little thumb. It’s important to enter the competitors in addition to potential, and that will undergo the end result, which would be the precedence above all. I am not saying we can’t win, however it will be an enormous shock if we win.

Italy in 1938 and Brazil in 1962.

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