France played Belarus away on Tuesday night in a World Cup Qualifier. It was a poor match and they couldn’t find a winner, drawing the game 0-0.
It’s not the end of the world and France are likely to qualify from their group, but the French media aren’t happy at all.
There’s a feeling France aren’t playing to their potential, perhaps coasting, and there’s every chance the French media are getting a few kicks in over the Euro 2016 final loss.
After defeat to Portugal, the reaction was generally positive toward the team, but there will have obviously been anger among some that the country fell at the final hurdle.
L’Equipe journalist Damien Degorre used his connections well during the Paul Pogba to Manchester United saga. He interviewed Pogba directly over the summer, and then had a story claiming Pogba had told his France teammates he wanted a Manchester return.
That was all before a deal looked nailed on, so quite significant.
That hasn’t stopped him from taking an axe to Pogba’s performance against Belarus, and more widely his France career. There’s been some frustration with Pogba’s France performances and Degorre has simply written what many in France are thinking.
He’s not angry, he’s disappointed.
Pogba is picked out in L’Equipe for special treatment after Tuesday’s game. It’s stated that the match was just the kind of occasion when a player of Pogba’s talent should make the breakthrough, change the game and win it for his team.
‘Pogba was not bad, just average’ says the article, but much more is expected of the player.
Given more freedom because N’Golo Kante was playing, Pogba failed to take the opportunity and the L’Equipe article explains: ‘Yesterday he celebrated his fortieth match since joining les Bleus in March 2013, and in three years it is still difficult to pick a match which stuck in the mind and justified all the hopes and acclaim that has accompanied the player since his debut.
‘Pogba is young? That is true. But at his age others already had a Ballon d’Or, the award that the French publicly admits he aspires to. Obviously he still has time to express all the talent attributed to him, but it is a shame to miss opportunities to distinguish himself as would have been the case in Borisov’
A match winning performance could have proved a turning point for Pogba to become ‘less marketing, more sporty’ says the report.
Whilst it’s a very harsh, and brutally honest, with the emphasis very much on brutal, assessment of Pogba’s international career, he does need to step up if he’s to be the national hero the French were led to believe he would be.