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'Benzema double quieted a lot of people' | Auclair

French football journalist Philippe Auclair joined OTB AM after France drew 2-2 with Portugal at ...



'Benzema double quieted a lot...
Soccer

'Benzema double quieted a lot of people' | Auclair

French football journalist Philippe Auclair joined OTB AM after France drew 2-2 with Portugal at Euro 2020, a result that secured top spot in Group F for Les Bleus.

Didier Deschamps' side will now face Switzerland in the last 16 and Auclair is "more optimistic" about France's chances after the Portugal game than before the tournament started.

"Benzema scored twice [against Portugal] and Paul Pogba confirmed that he truly is one of the world’s best midfielders, at least when he’s got the French jersey on his shoulders," he said, explaining his optimism.

"Benzema's double will have also quieted a lot of people and a lot of apprehensions in France.

"I think there are more reasons to be optimistic apart from the fact the French half of the draw is pretty nightmarish. Other than that, I think there is satisfaction at a job pretty well done in the group stages." 

Auclair did however point to an element of frustration that despite their assortment of world-class attacking talent, France have failed to create many clear goal-scoring opportunities.

"You can be left a bit frustrated at the lack of clear cut chances created," he said. 

"Using someone like Corentin Tolisso as a winger or as a false winger as we call them in France, it meant that we didn’t create anything on that particular side.

"I still think we are trying to find a way to make the Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema triangle work properly.

"Even with such an array of attacking talent, we are not creating enough chances and it’s left only to Paul Pogba to play these long passes, which he does very well, like the one that led to Benzema’s second goal."

Auclair

Auclair explained how fans are just waiting for these attacking players to catch fire and find form but perhaps Deschamps' system is not helping them.

"We are waiting for more from Kylian Mbappe in terms of the end product, we are waiting for even more from Antoine Griezmann who I think plays a little bit too deep," he said.

"Honestly, the way the French team set-up against Portugal explains a lot about the difficulties. The 4-2-3-1 is perhaps not the right configuration and there are still areas in which there is work to be done and progress to be made." 

France will play Switzerland in Bucharest on Monday evening with the winner facing either Spain or Croatia in the quarter-final.       

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Auclair Benzema Deschamps Euro 2020 France Griwzmann Mbappe Pavard Pogba Switzerland Varane

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