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“We will now have to reckon with France”

Appointed in August as coach, Raphaël Reynaud takes stock of a 2021-2022 season which saw the Blues reach new levels and put in place the foundations of an ambitious project on the horizon of Euro 2026.

“Started in September in Paris against Norway behind closed doors in the midst of the Covid pandemic, and ended in Toulon in a full house, against the five-time world champions Brazilian, this season has seen the French team win ten of the twelve matches that she argued. What lessons do you draw from this?
The results are already very positive. We have a very interesting ratio of matches played and wins. If we had been offered it at the start of the season, we would have signed immediately. We started with two wins against Norway (1-0 and 6-2). Then we went to win in Italy (3-2), it’s not nothing. We won the 4 Nations Tournament then another tournament in Croatia (the Umag Nations Cup), in January. And we ended our season with Slovenia and Brazil with two quality performances. The results are satisfactory, that’s the first point. I also find that the results are positive from the point of view of the content since we were able to set up and propose an evolution, a game project identified with all the selections. We received a very favorable reception from the players with a fairly rapid appropriation on their part. So, whether in terms of results or in terms of content, we can only be satisfied with what we were able to offer and with the way the season went.

As soon as you took office, you set out your ambitious project between now and Euro 2026 and the steps to achieve it. After this first season, is the French team on schedule, ahead, behind?
“We are in the transition times. We had identified, in fact, the different stages. This season, we were on a first stage of construction, whether in terms of group renewal, in terms of state of mind, ambitions. One of the goals, too, of the season was to be able to build up from an athletic point of view and from a structural point of view. That’s what we did. So, today, yes, I can say that we are on schedule with regard to all these elements.

This season, a victory marked the spirits, that in Italy, the first time that the French team beat a nation as well ranked. Were there any pivotal moments in the season?
Victory in Italy (3-2, November 18 in Salsomaggiore Terme) is essential for me. Beyond the reaction shown by the team after the defeat the day before (6-1). It is essential to me because it validates intentions. We could have come to Italy defending hard, being wait-and-see, having a minimalist game project. It was not the case. This victory validated our intentions and our game project. And behind it, it’s easier to work, precisely, based on this victory and on the game offered. This success allowed us to play, then, against high nations such as Slovenia or Brazil by having the same intentions of play and by having a group, a staff who completely adhere to the orientation that we wanted to give. . This victory in Italy was a real trigger. It released a force on which we can now rely.


victories in twelve matches for the Blues this season, for two defeats


goals scored, for 34 conceded in twelve matches played

Kévin Ramirez, the captain, during the victory in Italy in November (photo Ludovic BRUNEAU/FFF).

Whatthe importance do you attach to the first trophy gleaned within the framework of the Tournament of the 4 nations in December?
In the desire to have a conquering state of mind, this victory is important. In the Netherlands, which was preparing to organize their Euro, with Belgium, which we had not often beaten, and Germany, which also has an ambitious project in futsal, we produced an offensive futsal, spectacular. This tournament also validates our game intentions and also the idea of ​​sending a message: we must now count on France as an emerging futsal nation. Of course, we know very well that learning and progress will be long and complicated, that there will also be difficult times. On the other hand, we know where we want to go and how to get there. This stage, this first line on the list of winners of this 4 Nations Tournament, really marks, I repeat myself, our intentions in terms of state of mind, of conquest and it gives a strong indicator to the great nations of futsal.

The French team has not really been in difficulty this season, except in Italy. What thoughts does this inspire in you?
It just confirms that we have potential. The potential players are there, we know that. But the high level is a constant. The high level is to manage to be sure of one’s strengths and to collectively validate individual potential. We haven’t really been in trouble this season, it’s true, but it’s due to our state of mind and the fact, also, that we know where we’re going.

We were respected by the Brazilian staff and the whole Brazilian team. We were respected by this great nation, by the greatest nation in world futsal.

The season could have ended in apotheosis. You didn’t go far from hooking the number 1 in the discipline, Brazil (2-3 on April 6 in Toulon)…
Attention, we are still far from this team which was diminished, it should not be forgotten, deprived of its two best players, certainly, Pito and Ferrao. We must remain lucid about this. We are still far from Brazil even if it remains a futsal match and in this case, it was rather balanced. We deserved maybe a little more that day, but we still have a lot of work to do, a real work of construction, of consolidation. The second point to underline is that we have been respected by this great nation, by the greatest nation in world futsal. We were respected in our game intentions, we were respected by the Brazilian staff and the whole Brazilian team. At the end of the match, we really felt that things were changing, that France today is positioning itself, that it is respected and will be respected in the future. For me, these are the two interesting points to remember and which should encourage us in our project.

An image of France-Brazil lost 2-1 by the Tricolores in April at the Palais des Sports in Toulon (Photo Sulyvan MANFROI/APL/FFF).

France returned to the world Top 20 this season (19th). Is she in her place?
Yes, yes, we are in our place in the Top 20. After that, I think there are still a few places to scratch, especially at European level, to get into the ten and then we will take the steps little by little. We are on a constant progression and we intend to progress further. But today, we are in our place.

In which areas do you think the French team has made the most progress this season?
We first progressed in our identity, in defining our line. Each player, today, knows precisely what he has to do in relation to the game project that we have displayed and that we wish to put in place. Each player knows exactly what points he can and must bring to the group and the project. And each player, finally, is fixed on the points that he still has to improve and the points of vigilance. This is essential for me to build the future. We have also made progress from an athletic point of view, with the contribution of the physical trainer (Arnaud Gaillard) which is increasingly linked to the clubs. This is very interesting data. We have also made progress in our overall relationship with the clubs. It’s not perfect yet but we are attached to it and it is important for us to progress on this relationship. The clubs are progressing and we are progressing with them. We also progressed, it seems to me, mentally, in our approach to events. Today, we are sure to be able to approach any match with the idea of ​​winning it.

On the other hand, what are the sectors where you believe there is significant room for improvement?
Very clearly, in the improvement of the collective. This is the second stage of the project. Next season, we will tighten the group a little bit to build a real, really oiled collective. We are going to move towards much more complementarity, towards more knowledge of each other. We are going to go towards refining, in detail and I believe that it is in detail that the margin for progress is enormous.


players were called up during the 2021-2022 season


players had their first international cap*


Abdessamad Mohammed is the top scorer with 9 goals**

*Lokoka, Marquet, Alla, Benslama, Faupin, Medjahed, Tchaptchet, Touré (Paris ACASA), Menendez.
** Ahead of Souheil Mouhoudine (6 goals), Landry N’Gala and Ronny Zakehi (5 goals (. Nelson Lutin and Mamadou Touré (4 goals)…

Your game project is transversal. It encompasses, as you said, all the selections. How do you view the U19 and U21 season?
I sincerely think that this is the federal strength, the strength of the game project that we have proposed. We presented him to the U15 regional selections, to the U18 selections, to the Pôle France Futsal. It is the project of the selections, it is the project of the pole, the project of the U19s, the U21s. It’s a synergy, a common vision that should lead our French team to be super efficient within the framework and with this federal game project. It’s not new: with the U19s and the U21s, it’s an identity that we’ve been working on for years. There, it’s true, we are rewarded with the U19s who qualified for the European Championship for the first time (the final phase is scheduled for September 4-10 in Jaén, Spain). This team is now respected, strong and with high ambitions. The U21s also had a good season with a victory in Portugal in particular. We can really congratulate coaches Clément Lerebours and Pierre-Etienne Demillier.

You took advantage of the last internship of the season at the Henri-Guérin Technical Center in Brittany to switch to next season. What will be the main lines?
What awaits us is a tightening of the group, a total investment in the futsal of the players who will make up this team and a generous calendar with important deadlines: the qualifications for the 2024 World Cup (dates and place to be determined), the 4 Nations Tournament with a title to defend and why not a very competitive tournament also abroad. We are awaiting the draw for the World Cup qualifiers scheduled for July 7 (at UEFA headquarters in Nyon at 1.30 p.m.) to be able to refine our calendar and put everything in place to give ourselves the best chance of having a good first part of qualifying, and rediscover the flavor of competitive matches. These are things that we have not yet worked on in real time: the game and the stakes. For the moment, at the level of the game, we are good. Now, how are we going to combine the game with the stake? We will know in September. But I have confidence in the group. The players, mentally, are warriors and we will take up this challenge with delight.

Personally, what is the image, the emotion that remains in your mind at the end of this first season at the head of the French Futsal Team?
I mainly remember the solidarity and the pleasure of working with the staff, of very high quality, formed this season around the French team to carry our project. If we had to remember one image, it would perhaps be the match against Slovenia. Because, there too, it was the first time that we managed to beat this nation. So the image that I will remember is the end of this match against the Slovenians. So that’s all I want to remember: a collective project with the players and also with the staff. »

The France group after the victory at the Umag Nations Futsal Cup (photo Jérôme MILLAGOU/FFF).



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