France, until Saturday, has been conservative and boring. Effective, yes, but not entertaining. That changed with France’s 4-3 win over Argentina, where Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann finally looked to be at their creative best, and Kylian Mbappe turned in a dominant performance. But the score and individual plays weren’t what stood out.
The final goal that France scored was what had been missing, and what fans have been hoping to see from Les Bleus ever since Didier Deschamps took over. It’s the perfect encapsulation of what makes France such a special squad. All of their talents are on display here — technical skill, intelligence, strength, and pure speed.
Watch as France goes all the way from their own box, through the entire Argentina side, to a goal on the other end in just six passes and 13 seconds. Lloris -> Kante -> Griezmann -> Matuidi -> Giroud -> Mbappe, bang.
The best piece of play in this goal might be Griezmann’s. After N’Golo Kante makes and excellent read by taking a step forward and playing an early pass on the floor towards Griezmann, the France attacker takes a wonderful first-time touch that sends the ball perfectly into Blaise Matuidi’s feet. And Matuidi doesn’t hesitate at all — he sees that the Argentina defense is out of shape, so he takes one touch forward, then passes to Olivier Giroud with his second. The assist itself is excellent, but it’s not even the best pass of the move.
More than any other moment of the game, this encapsulated what fans want France to be, and what they’re capable of at their best. No one else in the World Cup has both the pace and technical ability to score a goal like this on a regular basis. This is the France we’ve been waiting for.