Doha, Qatar — France Manager Didier Deschamps had the perfect summation of why it’s so important to have a team that is happy together, works hard together and spends so much time together: “You won’t win games because you have a happy camp , but you can lose the game if you don’t have one.”
After all, a team’s successes and failures in a major competition like the World Cup are often linked to off-field aspects and have consequences.
For example, belgium There were various interpersonal tensions in the players’ dressing room, and they clashed on the pitch. Now, they are going home. Meanwhile, there is cohesion in the France camp, which the defending champions know is not easy to achieve. At the rescheduled Euro 2020, which took place in the summer of 2021 in 11 host cities across Europe, France struggled to find the right solidarity and cohesion. With all their group games being held in Hungary, they stayed in the city center of Budapest, which left them with nowhere to go: they had little or no outdoor space and virtually no way to escape the crowds. .
It has been the opposite experience in Doha. Inside their luxurious hotel, the Al-Mesillah Resort, it feels like one big holiday camp at times. Once the football (either training or matches) and the hard work is done, Deschamps’ players are like 24 mates.
The music in the games room they have is always loud. midfielder Joseph Fofana and further antoine griezmann There are two dedicated team DJs, blasting everything from French hip hop to reggaeton and showcasing their eclectic taste. if they guard benjamin powered Take that, 1980s singer Daniel Balavine – as would so many French classics Bayern Munich Defender knows all his songs like “azizaBy rote. kilian mbappe Big fan ofgasoline“Whenever It’s His Turn” by Paris rapper Tiacola.
Regardless of their personal preferences, les blues Already his anthem of the tournament. after an impressive 2–1 win against Denmark In the second group stage game, they celebrated in their dressing room by jumping and singing the iconic dance tune “Freed from Desire” by Gala. Olivier Giroud powered and stood on the table with wesley fofanaWhile the rest of the squad was throwing water and clothes everywhere around them.
Such moments are special. They naturally fall into this group, and they value their unity greatly. It also matters a lot who will win the next game of Uno, Poker or Ludo King (an online board game). The card game Uno is very popular among young players. they all sit there around the rectangular table — like friends William Saliba, aurelian tchoumeni, Ibrahima Konate, Dayot Upmekano, Matteo Guendouzzi, axel disasi And Eduardo Camavinga – And can play for hours. You can also find a pool table, a foosball table, TVs in the game room to watch other sports, but the card games have been a welcome distraction.
There’s also a piano and desasi, young AS Monaco guard who came to replace the wounded presnel kimpembe Having never been called into the senior team before this World Cup, he has impressed his teammates with his talent. The 24-year-old taught himself how to play during lockdown and has been giving some basic lessons to Camavinga and Toumaini, who have enjoyed picking up a new skill.
When it comes to sleeping arrangements, each player has a separate room with a large poster of them and their name on the door. When the squad checked into the hotel they also found a pillow with his name on it. The players have French TV channels in their rooms, but also a dedicated channel for clips of their next opponents so they can watch and study outside of training.
The games of FIFA 22 on PlayStation 5 are also very competitive. There are even a few TV series in the works, like the Game of Thrones spin-off “House of the Dragon,” to keep things entertaining, but the players aren’t just mingling. Deschamps has organized family trips for his squad, even arranging time slots to keep their days and game preparation on track. There was also a BBQ night on the big terrace outside their hotel, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the players.
To keep them entertained during long training days, they are creating their own fun. Some have this new game at the end of the season at the Al Saad Stadium, just 3 miles (5 km) from the Al Mesila Resort. The rule is simple: the ball is placed on the sideline of the 16-yard box and you need to hit the ball with the right weight to get it in the quadrangle around the corner flag. It’s their version of foot-golf and to no one’s surprise, Mbappe is a master at it. The weight is often right on his touch.
pass de pressure @atchouameni @jackie4 | @girondins #FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/k98Sr8vzYy
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipefrance) December 2, 2022
Griezmann is also very good, but what if you lose? Well, you have to give dinner to the other players who won the game. Chowmeny lost on the second day, but has yet to show his defeat!
In the dressing room before and after a match, the dynamic isn’t much different. The players are seated in groups based on their position. Upamecano and Konate, who are like brothers in life and have known each other for years, are next to each other. The same is true for the triplet of Adrien Rabiotmbappé and marcus thurmor for Ousmane Dembele and Griezmann, while three goalkeepers (hugo loris, steve mandanda And alphonse areola) always stay together on one side of the room.
The atmosphere in the French camp has been fantastic so far this World Cup. Deschamps is usually adept at team building, although he will admit that he got it wrong at the last Euros. But he learned from what went wrong there and created a much more conducive environment in Qatar.
What is the one thing that has been difficult for him off the field? Dembele’s fear of cats. barcelona Forward is not only a little scared, but downright scared and when the players eat on the roof of their hotel, there are always some feral cats wandering around looking for food, which scares him away! When they finish their meal everyone just laughs, a bit of humor that bonds this group all the more.
After a good show in the group stage, they will face poland With a quarterfinal spot on the line on Sunday. Expect this team to stay united as they keep on aiming for their ultimate goal: to become the first country to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil Did it in 1958 and 1962.