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2022 World Cup | France star proving if you’re good enough you’re old enough after scintillating displays in Qatar

Les Bleus have a chance to become just the third nation in World Cup history to successfully defend its title on the back of fantastic displays in midfield

Holding World Cup champions France exercised historic tournament demons after Les Bleus booked passage into the knockout stage on the back of a 2-1 win against potential European dark horse Denmark on a night where Kylian Mbappé continued to be the standard bearer for the two-time champions.

While the Paris Saint-Germain star has drawn much of the plaudits in Qatar this winter along with veteran AC Milan center-forward Olivier Giroud after he drew level with Thierry Henry as the joint-top scorer in French national team history, Real Madrid starlet Aurélien Tchouaméni has quietly produced one of the top performances of any player in the tournament after data has emerged supporting just how vital the 22-year-old has quickly become for Didier Deschamps.

According to Opta, no midfielder on World Cup duty with a minimum of 100 passes has a higher completion rate than Tchouaméni (97%) after the Rouen native has put in two brilliant displays for France during a tournament he may not have been the first-choice option at if not for injuries to veteran duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté.

Tchouaméni has also combined for the most tackles and interceptions among players in his position and has given Deschamps a valuable central duopoly alongside Adrien Rabiot, with his appearances for France offering the same central assuredness that others before him the likes of Kanté, Makelele, and Vieira have historically provided as a base for success on the international stage.

With France likely to top Group D, potential early dates in the knockout stage against possible opponents Argentina in the round of 16 could offer them a big test and a date with Lionel Messi from the start of the next round which could lead to further clashes with the likes of England or Senegal in the quarterfinals. But with his performance levels being what they are France will no doubt be confident moving forward.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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