If some observers have expressed doubts about Raphaël Varane and the defense of the Blues in recent weeks, they can be reassured. In a meeting where she suffered, the France team showed great strength, Tuesday, June 15, at the Allianz Arena, to win against Germany (1-0) on their debut at Euro 2021. And the defender of Real Madrid is no stranger to it.
The lucky one who recovered Varane’s jersey after the match will have every interest in keeping it preciously. Because it could be very expensive in a few years: for his 75th selection, Varane impressed from start to finish while the Blues suffered against the German waves, especially in the second half. “We were in the fight. (…) We had a tough match”, explained Didier Deschamps after the meeting at the microphone of M6. In this permanent fight for the defense of his goals, Varane shone, despite the repeated tumbles of Thomas Müller, Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry, the three German axial attackers.
His teammate in central defense, Presnel Kimpembe, deplored last Saturday, at a press conference in Clairefontaine, that the defense had not been endangered enough during the preparation matches against Wales (3-0) and Bulgaria (3-0). Tuesday evening, the French defenders had nothing to complain about, they had so much work. Varane the first, he who has been leading the French defense for seven years now.
Despite the many dangerous situations, the Madrilenian did not waver. It was the first bulwark of this blue defense at times destabilized but never completely exceeded. Varane has thus won all his duels (six out of six), has always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and has like magnetized the balls in the area: the Real player is at the origin of eight clearances and has opposed with his body on several German attempts.
He interposed perfectly in front of Müller (56th), before relieving his team in the last seconds of the match, with an intervention in front of Joshua Kimmich (90 + 2nd), while the Nationalmannschaft insisted more than ever on snatching the equalizer. Serious, diligent, Varane remained focused until the last second of the meeting.
At his side, Presnel Kimpembe was also almost irreproachable in his interventions. The only downside: his placement error which allowed Serge Gnabry to slip behind his back at the start of the second period, which could have cost the Blues dearly if the German striker had been more skillful a few meters from the goal (54th ).
But overall, the central hinge of the France team demonstrated a very good complementarity, which brought back good memories to the PSG defender. “Raphaël (Varane) and Marquinhos, they are two profiles that are alike, they are two very intelligent leaders”, explained Kimpembe last Saturday. Beyond leading the troops on the ground, the Madrilenian has also done it in the heads by haranguing his partners, by encouraging them to relocate, constantly.
On the Munich lawn, the France team relied on two bosses: Paul Pogba, in midfield, and Raphaël Varane, therefore, in defense. Result, despite the many German assaults, Hugo Lloris did not have much to do, except for a perfectly controlled exit at the feet of Gnabry (57th). But the goalkeeper and captain of the Blues knew he could count on Varane to act as a solid bulwark. This one fulfilled its role wonderfully and it is promising for the rest of the competition.