Probably not a birthday present Antoine Griezmann wanted. The day a talisman turns 32, Didier Deschamps instead it was approved Kylian Mbappe As the new captain of France. Hugo Lloris‘s last meaningful move with the armband was to be defeated by Gonzalo Montiel’s penalty.

An era has ended. Lloris spent 12 years as captain, and it was a measure of success that this was rarely an issue in the 121 games he wore. He did not leave as a double World Cup-winning captain, but the alliance of the two Frenchmen at Didier Deschamps and Lloris to lift the trophy provided an almost unparalleled stability.

As France embarks on its quest for the only international trophy, the European Championship, to get rid of manager Deschamps, with the feeling that it is Les Bleus 2.0. Raphael Varane retired with Lloris, removing a second constant from his backbone: Given his injury issues and France’s talented young centre-backs, it might have been a smart choice. Karim Benzema‘s decision to end his international career came under very different circumstances: he seemed to be excluded from the World Cup, he was finally in shape, but Deschamps did not recall the Ballon d’Or winner.

Benzema was the oddball man in the golden generation, the player in international exile when France won the World Cup in 2018, but the emphasis may have shifted to a younger group as Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante’s return was deemed inappropriate. Mbappe is a 24-year-old captain – France may have borrowed Argentina’s logic of seeing a superstar as a logical leader; it’s more skill-based than a Lloris-like gift to bring everyone together, and he’s closer in age to most of his new captain. work friends. There are only four left to take part in 2018, and they tell a story within themselves: Fresh out of being the second man in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, Mbappe has risen through the ranks. One of the competition’s elite players as a makeshift midfielder, Griezmann apparently doesn’t have anything he’s unhappy about and could continue his deeper role. Benjamin Pavard lost his place in Qatar, while the tough, long-lived Olivier Giroud, who had a victorious tournament before his halftime substitution disgrace in the final, suddenly became a veteran defender while continuing.

At 36 years old, he is the most senior of this group. Behind him, injuries to William Saliba and Wesley Fofana camouflage some of France’s extraordinary depth in the middle of the defence, but Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano provide further evidence. Mike Maignan could be a better goalkeeper now than Lloris. With Randal Kolo Muani nearly winning the World Cup final, Deschamps has not one but two Thurams to turn to. The manager’s decision to continue may have been influenced by a sense of new possibilities.

But the French and Dutch can compare the notes at the Stade de France. Each made a comeback against Argentina; With superior penalty shootouts, both could have been World Cup winners. Louis van Gaal resigned after he did not lose a match in the 90 minutes in his second and third terms. Ronald Koeman took a non-diplomatic turn and said he overlooked Jeremie Frimpong, an alternative to suspended Denzel Dumfries, because he couldn’t defend himself.

He’ll probably be different from his ally, his rival Van Gaal, and move into the back four. He immediately remembered Gini Wijnaldum, who had fallen out of favor with the old man even before his injury left him out of the World Cup.

It begins with one of the toughest matches in international football, which is made more difficult by injuries and illness. There have been many retreats, including Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Cody Gakpo, Sven Botman and Steven Bergwijn.

Remarkably, he doesn’t have any of the three goalkeepers Van Gaal has taken to Qatar, and the unknown Andries Noppert, who did well there, is now injured. Koeman’s roster now has six free agents. After Van Gaal’s fondness for 3-5-2, more emphasis is placed on wingers, traditional staples of Dutch tactics. The number of target men on the roster dropped from three to one, and Luuk de Jong retired. The last survivor is Wout Weghorst, the futile instigator of a spectacular comeback against Argentina.

It’s one of the few things I have in common with Mbappe. Van Gaal’s final gamble was a spectacular improbability until he nearly knocked Argentina out by grabbing the long ball. Still, the World Cup ended with Lionel Messi against Mbappe. And as Deschamps signals the future of France, handing the armband to Mbappe could mean he replaces Messi as World Cup-winning captain.