Pogba’s not criticizing Man United on France duty; Salah should have known better; Ramos’ day to forget

The service in France will give Paul Pogba a break, the list of absences in Liverpool will be longer, the Spanish captain Sergio Ramos will not be afraid, Italy and Belgium will be on the upward curve at the right time, Leroy Sané shows that he could be one of the best in the world and Norway has shown creativity in overcoming their problems with KOVID-19.

It’s Monday and Gab Marcotti responds to last week’s football highlights.

Without the exceptional savings of Rui Patricio the world champions could have won by a large margin and Didier Deschemps would have had a slightly different view on the front: Antoine Grizman with Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman, with Adrien Rabiot as Blaise Matuidi This is plan B because Cailian Mbappe was not available, but it also shows that he was ready to work without a real centre like Olivier Giroux.

Mr. Deschamps may not be the most innovative tactical thinker in the game, but he has a very good feel for individual players and how to build a team. It was said that three of the top players of France – Griezman, Rafael Varanet and Paul Pogba – were also three boys who had recently had problems in their clubs (Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man United respectively).

Sometimes you hear international managers choose the form, and sometimes they choose the chemistry. Desham is clearly a loyalist who treats his national team like a club: If you’ve worked for him in the past, it takes a lot to lose your place. All three have responded well and it’s easy to see how the national team will postpone if you’re under fire from your club.

After Saturday’s match Pogba was very open and talked about it on the French TV channel RTL : It’s a phase I’ve never experienced in my career, in which I play normally and always keep the rhythm. And suddenly that changes. I’m starting to get my feelings back. I’ll find myself again. That’s what I have to do all the time and be consistent.

An encounter, like a window opening, is a relief. I spoke with Antoine and Raphael on Saturday. We sat down together over lunch and discussed it: Guys, I don’t know if we understand this, but this team is unbelievable.

With Pogba and Manchester United, some will inevitably have to read between the lines and see criticism of United or Ole Gunnar Solskier. This is how the reaction cycle works. And it’s a shame, because if Pogba wanted to unload at the club, he’d be more honest. He is in the middle of contract negotiations (his contract ends in June 2022) and has nothing to gain from being shot.

Would it have been better if he had avoided comparison with his club? Of course you did. It would save him from grief. I’m surprised he’s happier with France now than he is with United? Of course not. He won the world championship with France and is an important member of the team, while United remains behind and is in 11th place. Again, I like to think it was just fair, and if it was stolen by some media, that’s too bad.

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Frank Lebof sheds light on Paul Pogb’s remark that the match with France is a relief.

As far as Portugal is concerned, it has reminded us that with all its talents, if you are a small nation – not in terms of pedigree, but only in terms of quantity – the ability to put the pieces of the puzzle together is limited. Of course they play Cristiano Ronaldo, but he does his best when someone attacks him. But without the legal means to strike (Andre Silva and Goncalo Passion were not available), coach Fernando Santos managed to do so by bringing in his best players: João Felix and Bernardo Silva. It may have won in terms of individual skills, but it has lost in terms of chemistry and cohesion.

They have suffered a similar fate in their defense. He wanted to place two defensive midfielders like Joao Cancelo and Rafael Guerreiro, but for that he had to play two defensive midfielders, William Carvalho and Danilo Pereira, which was painful in terms of creativity.

I don’t know the right answer, except that – especially in times of COVID, with overloaded equipment lists and very little time to work in the training field – international management can be extremely difficult. When the euro returns and they collect fees for a whole month, they expect Portugal (and France by the way) to be very different. Today there are very few national coaches outside player selection and game management.

– UEFA League of Nations on ESPN+ : Streaming LIVE games and playback (US only)

What was Mo Salah thinking?

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Shaki Hislop’s recent analysis of European football shows that the Premier League teams are at the forefront.

We don’t know and may never know where Mohamed Salah was when he was infected with KOWID-19. What we do know is that his test was positive (and, alarmingly, has shown mild symptoms so far), which means he should be quarantined and tested negative before returning to Liverpool. We also know that he celebrated his brother’s wedding a few days earlier, without a mask, dancing and surrounded by people.

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It doesn’t look good, and it’s only fair to expect more from Salah. It exposes itself to unnecessary risks. It is extremely surprising that footballers, who often have contractual provisions prohibiting dangerous activities such as skiing, do not seem to understand the risks involved.

We don’t know how long Salah will be gone or how fit he’ll be when he gets back. For a club that pays well – without Virgil van Dyck, Trent Alexander Arnold, Joe Gomez, Fabinho and maybe without Captain Jordan Henderson – it’s a hard blow.

Ramos’ story, although Spain still works

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Sid Lowe explains why we shouldn’t be surprised by the recent mistakes of the Spaniard Sergio Ramos.

Gerard Moreno’s late equalizer earned Spain a 1-1 tie with Switzerland (ESPN+ in the USA) and a place in the last four of the League of Nations on Wednesday. But Sergio Ramos will remember this game. He broke the international record of Gianluigi Buffon for European players (177) and missed two international matches (after reaching 25 in a row).

If it was someone else, you might be surprised at the psychological consequences of a double setback in a game (especially if your second setback is a real horror show that makes Ademola Lookman’s last penalty kick look good). But with Ramos, it feels like water coming out of the duck’s back. Few players at his level are in a better position than him to cut out mistakes, whether it’s defense or attack, and to keep moving forward.

Spain did better than in previous tournaments, which doesn’t say much, but Luis Enrique’s decision to use Ferran Torres as center forward pushed them back, and they did much better with Alvaro Morata on the field. Luis Enrique would select players according to their form, which is great, but the fact that Torres has done his job for the good of the city in the last few games doesn’t mean he has suddenly become the No9. It’s no coincidence that everything got better when Morata (speaking of form, he looked alive as soon as he arrived at Juventus) stood in front of him.

– Hamilton: Spain and Germany do not have time to prepare for Euro
– Spain vs Germany LIVE Tuesday at 14:45 ET on ESPN+ (USA only).

Best Italian match for Mancini

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Gab Marcotti says that despite the problems at the finish, Italy has shown why they are a dynamic team.

Italy’s 2-0 victory over Poland (in the US – on ESPN+) may be the best of Roberto Mancini’s time (which he ironically missed after a positive COVID 19 test result). The national coach cannot change the level of talent he has, but he can change the way his group plays, and Mancini has done that by introducing an aggressive and visionary ball possession game that is different from what we have seen in the past at the Azzurri.

The following matches will be broadcast live on ESPN+ (USA) :

– France vs. Sweden (14.35 hours ET)
– Spain vs. Germany (14.35 hours ET)
– Switzerland vs. Ukraine (14.35 hours ET)
Fresh days, NOV. 18
– Belgium vs. Denmark (ET 14.35)
– Bosnia vs. Italy (ET 14.35)
– Czech Republic vs. Slovakia (ET 14.35)
– England vs. Iceland (ET 14.35)
– Greece vs. Slovenia (ET 14.35)
– Hungary vs. Turkey (ET 14.35)

Two things are probably the most amazing. One is that neither the approach nor the style seems to change, regardless of the mission. Against Poland, there were about 20 players who were unavailable despite injuries and self-isolation, but nothing seems to have changed. This means the ability to transfer concepts and tactics in a very short time.

Moreover, Italy’s largest reserve of staff is in midfield, perhaps for the first time in history. Nicolò Barella, Giorgiño and Manuel Locatelli started and were great, but the group also consisted of Marco Verratti, Sandro Tonali, Gaetano Castrovilli, Stefano Sensei and Lorenzo Pellegrini.

But a better finish would be useful. Siro Immobil and Andrea Belotti are what they are. It should be noted that of the XI who started against Poland, only five (Barella, Alessandro Bastoni, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Florenzi and Lorenzo Insigni) are regular guests in the Champions League teams. But come to the European Championships next summer after a long season that may even work to their advantage.

– Status of the Game of the League of Nations : The stakes of the final…

Belgium does light work England

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Ale Moreno said the British lacked attacking ingenuity because they had lost 2-0 from Belgium to the League of Nations.

As a sign of progress, Belgium has undoubtedly managed to beat England 2-0 (the most important points in the US) without even sweating a second. Roberto Martínez had good luck with both goals – the first was defended at least once, the second – by a free kick (a big free kick from Dries Mertens in his hometown) that probably should never have been given – but they made the first two-headed break with aplomb and never looked back.

One of Martinez’s criticisms in the past was that his teams were too lenient, too reckless and too inclined to make unnecessary mistakes. Not on Sunday night. They were clinical and effective and controlled the game against disappointed England.

Read the latest news and reactions from ESPN’s main author Gabriele Marcotti.

Once again, the most important thing for Gareth Southgate is that this team needs speed to function. And if you play Jack Grilish and Mason Mount for Harry Kane, you’ll fall behind.

The Grealish was large, the Mount was smaller, but simply lacked the quality of the 11th century. Match against Belgium to get out of the game with a lot of obsession. It will be a different story, at least for the future, if he can surround himself from the start with a combination of Judon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Rahim Sterling Kane.

He’s on the attack. The usual restrictions then remain. There are few things that impede the quality of passing in midfield and defense. Harry Maguire suits him (provided he’s healthy) and Alexander-Arnold helps him, but there’s still a long way to go.

– Ollie: Grealish is flourishing, but England is back to square one.

Reasonable display

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Frank Leboev believes that Joachim Lowe and Germany will do business with Ukraine in the UEFA League of Nations.

If you see Leroy Sanah playing for Germany against the Ukraine – hell if you see how he’s done in recent years (which didn’t happen often, it’s true) – reminds us that it can of course be a team game, but individuals can always ruin the best plans. And few do it as easily and destructively as the mind.

If you let a man fly through space at a breakneck speed, all defensive missions will be cancelled unless he makes a mistake or you have very smart and well-trained defenders. And if it’s also on the same finish line as we saw on Saturday in front of the equalizer – Germany came from behind and won 3-1 (broadcasted on ESPN+ in the USA) – then there’s very little we can do about it.

Sanah played every 12 minutes in Manchester City last season and his injuries slowed him down last season as well. He is 25 in January and feels like he has barely scratched the surface of what he can do. He has already scored four goals in seven appearances with Bayern in Munich, although he has only started three games. If he stays healthy and goals like Saturday’s become regular, he will play as well as no German player will ever play again.

Norway does not give up KOVID-19 despite failures

Norway had to cancel the game against Romania on Sunday after one of their players tested positive on KOVID-19. This was not defined in football protocol COVID-19 – it was a government decision in the health sector taken by the Norwegian authorities when the team went to the airport.

She reminds us that public health is better than anything else and that football is not a happy island that can set its own rules without being a snowman. Ukraine had at least five players with positive results, but their match against Germany was still a success.

UEFA will probably reward Romania for their failure, but Norwegian ingenuity comes into play. They are a new team consisting of players who were not in the starting line-up and will travel to Austria on Wednesday for the finals of Group E of the League of Nations. A victory with two clear goals would have allowed them to take first place in the group and be promoted. You’ll have to do it without Erling Haaland and Martin Odegard and with a relatively large number of anonymous people.

As they say: The next guy.

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