The favorites for the next World Cup experienced this last international break before the meeting in Qatar differently. Brazil, Argentina or the Netherlands were able to reassure themselves, unlike France, England and Germany.

Brazil and Argentina on their cloud

With eight goals scored and only one conceded, all is well for Brazil, which has been wandering in recent days against Ghana and Tunisia, opponents who will be at the World Cup in a few weeks. Tuesday evening at the Stade de France, against the Carthage Eagles, the Seleção even scored four goals in just 40 minutes , before Tunisia were reduced to ten, once again demonstrating their offensive strike power.

Neymar, key to the Brazilian game, attended this rally. Scorer and passer, he also refined his agreement with Richarlison, Vinicius, Raphinha or Paqueta. Brazil have donned the mantle of bookmakers’ favorites and now the only lingering questions are about Tite’s final roster, where there are almost too many attacking choices even for a larger group.

Argentina, just over a year after winning the Copa America, are in nearly as sparkling form. With a very leggy Messi, author of four goals in two games, including a superb lob against Honduras and a low free kick against Jamaica , the Albiceleste, victorious twice 3-0, kept the confidence. Lionel Scaloni’s men are undefeated in their last 35 games, since July 2019. The preparation is optimal.

France has not solved its problems

There was enough to be reassured after the match against Austria: a 2-0 victory, a renewed Mbappé-Giroud agreement, the first clean sheet since March, everything was there or almost. But the France team sank again three days later, in Denmark, with an overly feverish midfielder and a desperate defense. The problems are still there and now the clock is ticking.

The Blues can reassure themselves by counting the absentees of this gathering . Along with Lloris, the Hernandez brothers, Kanté, Pogba and Coman, six potential starters have missed both games in September. But precisely, they may not all be back in Qatar, or not all in the best mood, and we must learn to be able to play without them. The Tchouaméni-Fofana pair worked well, but it’s not enough in the satisfaction department.

England and Germany in slow motion

Finalists of the last Euro, carried by a golden generation with executives (Kane, Sterling, Walker) and young people (Saka, Foden, Bellingham, James, Mount), the English have reason to dream of the World Cup. But the reality of the results is chilling: the Three Lions have not won since March and the meetings against Italy and Germany were not the most obvious to get back in the saddle.

Beaten by the Squadra Azzurra, England were then dominated for more than an hour by Germany, who led 2-0 before the Saka-Mount duo, which came on the line, made the difference and allowed them to go and get the draw (3-3) . It was the union minimum to obtain, which did not prevent the English from finishing the League of Nations with three defeats, three draws and indisputable relegation.

The situation in Germany is slightly less dramatic. A week ago, the Mannschaft could even hope to qualify for the Final Four. But the Germans failed, beaten by Hungary and hooked by England. They can even thank Nick Pope, author of a small error which allowed them to equalize at the very end of the match at Wembley, otherwise they would have ended this rally with two defeats.

The Netherlands, the winning Europe

While several European leaders are going through a complicated preparation, or even will not go to Qatar, the Netherlands are a hit. After a failed Euro 2021, Louis Van Gaal, the man who had led the selection in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, took over the ship with an already excellent record: 11 wins and 0 defeat in 15 games.

On Sunday, the Dutch masterfully dominated Belgium and scored their ticket to the Final Four of the League of Nations quite broadly. Absent from the last World Cup in Russia, they will go to Qatar with certainties and a system that works. The only downside is Memphis Depay’s thigh injury for about a month, not ideal in the final sprint.

Source: Robin Wattraint

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