The French team starts its Olympic tournament in a match against Mexico, for a group match with particular flavors for Gignac and Thauvin.
90 mins at Tokyo Stadium to start these Olympics well for the Blues led by Sylvain Ripoll, where they will first have to beat Mexico before thinking of other group matches against South Africa and Japan. On this occasion, Florian Thauvin and André-Pierre Gignac meet some of their Mexican teammates in the club. This first match is inevitable and here is why.
Where and when to watch the game?
On Eurosport 1 to 10 a.m.
Because it is the first match of the Blues at the Olympics since 1996
The France team is used to shine by its absence during the Olympic Games. So much so that her last participation dates back to the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 where, led by Raymond Domenech, she was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Portugal of Nuno Gomes and Nuno Espírito Santo. For good reason, qualification goes through the continental hopeful competitions, and the Bleuets have rarely climbed very high during the Euro under 21. Having climbed to the semifinals during the 2019 edition, France therefore won its ticket to the Olympic Games, 25 years after its last participation. Against Mexico, the Blues will therefore make their comeback in Olympic land.
Because Gignac faces his host country
At Euro 2016, André-Pierre Gignac hit the post at the very end of the match, before the title escaped the Blues on a strike from Eder in extra time. Since then, the former OM striker has become a legend for the Monterrey Tigers of Mexico and is the club’s top scorer in history. But he was not seen much under the tricolor tunic. At 35, he is the dean of this group of players mostly under 24, and hopes to win what could be his one and only title with the Blues. Facing Mexico, he will face his adopted country. Arrived in Monterrey in 2015, he is adored by the local supporters and knows very well many of the young Mexicans that France faces Thursday at 10am. Also present tomorrow with this Olympic selection, his new teammate at the Tigers Florian Thauvin will discover his future championship opponents against Mexico.
Because Mexicans are regulars at the Olympics
Opposite, Mexico leaves with an advantage: experience. The Mexican Olympic football team has already won the tournament in 2012 and unlike France, the Mexicans are regulars of the tournament, having missed the Olympics only once since 1996. The current goalkeeper of the selection , Guillermo Ochoa, is a regular at international tournaments, who has not missed a World Cup since 2006. The young Mexicans come out of three successful friendlies, accumulating two victories (1-0 against Romania and 3-2 against the ‘Australia) and a draw (1-1 against Saudi Arabia), and therefore have two additional preparation matches compared to the Blues. While the French group does not know each other very well, and only played together against South Korea U23 (2-1 victory).
Because it will be an opportunity to see Diego Lainez, who had raised the Roazhon Park
The young Mexican prodigy arrived in Europe in 2019 from Club America at Betis Seville. Now 21, he revealed himself to the world in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League against Stade Rennais. Came to 32e minute when Real Betis lost 2-0, they amaze the Rennes public with their dribbling, accelerations, slaloms in the box and their beautiful passes. He will even come to equalize 3-3 at the very end of the match, silencing a Roazhon Park so far fond of the game of the young Mexican. Having kept his twirling side without being very decisive, the French defenders will have to be wary of the one who wears the number 10 of the Mexican selection.
Because you will be able to (re) discover the nuggets of Ligue 1
If you missed out on some French league matches, this will be an opportunity to catch up with you. Many Ligue 1 clubs refused to release their players for these Olympics, but those at the bottom of the table often played the game. Thus the Lorient midfielder Enzo Le Fée, 21, gave us a very good performance at the alongside Téji Savanier against South Korea U23. The two scorers who come to release the France team at the end of the match are also two young people to follow in Ligue 1: Randal Kolo-Muani from FC Nantes and Nathanael Mbuku from Stade de Reims. You can also follow Melvin Bard, left side trained at OL who has just signed at OGC Nice. Another player, who is not from Ligue 1 but from Ligue 2 will also be to watch: Alexis Beka-Beka. The 20-year-old Caen midfielder impressed André-Pierre Gignac in training, who said in an interview for RMC: “Alexis Beka Beka is very strong. In training, I tell myself that he’s twenty-six years old as a guy! “