They are the hope in the French midfield: Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni (r.).Image: www.imago-images.de
With the midfield duo missing from the 2018 World Cup victory, France are now hoping for two Real Madrid youngsters: Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni. Our series on the key players of the World Cup favourites.
11/14/2022, 1:29 p.m14/11/2022, 14:55
20 years after the first World Cup title, the “Équipe Tricolore” celebrated France again four years ago. Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann fired the national team to the world champions for the second time in 2018 with four goals in Russia. But in the shadow of two goalkeepers, it was primarily the midfield duo behind the French’s success: Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté. Together they formed the control center «Bleus».
The whole world fell in love with Kante, the tireless engine in midfield who, after winning the final, was too shy to ask his teammates if he could hold the trophy, as Olivier Giroud later recounted. No player tackled more balls than the then 27-year-old. And next to him, the extroverted Pogba, who time and again intervened even in attack, distributed the ball and scored an important goal in the 3-1 win against Croatia in the final. But neither Kanté nor Pogba will be there at the World Cup in Qatar. The task of replacing the two injured now falls to the royal duo.
Must be replaced: Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté (right).Image: sports photography service imago
It consists of Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga. Since this summer and the transfer of Tchouaméni, who previously had a contract with AS Monaco, both play in Real Madrid. They should be ready in the Spanish capital when Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are gone. And in France, both are the two midfielders of the future. But now this generational change has accelerated.
Tchouaméni is set, Camavinga must prove himself
In the last Nations League game against Denmark, the two were together for the first time in national coach Didier Deschamps’ starting line-up. For Camavinga, now 20, it was his first appearance for the national team since October 2020. He competes with Monaco’s Youssouf Fofana and Marseille’s Matté Guendouzi for the second midfield spot.
“Tchouameni has an incredible ability to retrieve balls.
Gustavo Poyet, the Frenchman’s former coach
Tchouaméni is already established there. The 22-year-old has already replaced Kante in a number of games this season. According to El País, his Real Madrid teammates would describe him as “serious and shy”. But not only his character, but also the style of the game is similar to that of the Chelsea star. “He has an incredible ability to retrieve balls,” writes his former coach Gustavo Poyet on his blog. That is why Tchouaméni was already nicknamed “octopus”. But his favorite nickname is “TchouaNgolo” after one of his role models.
But Tchouaméni will also impress off the pitch. National coach Deschamps says: “In addition to everything he is capable of on the pitch, he also has a head for it. Despite his young age, he devotes himself to aspects other than sports. When he came to Monaco from Girondins Bordeaux in January 2020, he took club psychologist Cédric Quignon-Fleuret with him. The footballer works with him on his mental state to constantly improve.
From the refugee camp to the national team
Quignon-Fleuret also came up with the idea of always having a laptop with you. There, Tchouaméni writes down “quotes from top athletes or great personalities of the world” that could help him in his career, as Goal writes. He is interested in personalities like Martin Luther King or Barack Obama. Tchouaméni is not an ordinary footballer and France is also building on that.
“He’s a little dancer and he reminds me of me.
Paul Pogba on Camavingo
Camavinga is the opposite of the calm and rather thoughtful Tchouaméni. How is Pogba with Kante. Twenty-nine-year-old Juventus professional Pogba also says of Camaving: “He is very relaxed and a little dancer. He reminds me of me.” Camavinga is certainly happy with the comparison. He sees Pogba as a role model who inspires him.
The Frenchman was born in an Angolan refugee camp. His parents fled the Congolese war zone to a neighboring area. The family soon moved to France, where he soon started playing football. “I didn’t know anything about it. My mom took me and signed me in,” Marca said, continuing, “I remember taking the ball and dribbling something.”
But even in France, the Camavinga family was not spared disasters. When Eduardo Camaving was eleven years old, their house burned down. “You lost everything,” his coach said at the time. For the third of six children, football was a way out of suffering. “The second day I had to go to practice and that helped me relax,” says Camavinga. His father then told him that he would be the one to rebuild the family home: “You are the hope of the family.” Camavinga didn’t take the sentence too seriously at first, he said in an interview with Ouest France.
But at the latest with the transfer in the summer of 2021 from Rennes, where he completed his training, to Real Madrid, it was clear: the father should be right. He mainly played part-time roles in his first season with the “Blancos”. In the end, he was still on the field in 40 games and accumulated almost 1,700 minutes. He could learn a lot from Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, as he says. With his dribbling and passing abilities, like Pogba, he should also set the attacking accents. This is what “Grande Nation” is building on.
22 November 20:00: France v Australia
November 26 at 5 p.m.: France v Denmark
November 30, 16:00: Tunisia-France
Other key characters:
These 32 teams qualified for the World Cup in Qatar
Andri Ragettli skis and juggles football at the same time
Video: external / rest
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