Friday, 1 June 2012

Viva le France

Manager:  Laurent Blanc
Captain:  Hugo Lloris
Star Player: Franck Ribery (for her Pleasure)  
Bio: 2 years ago in South Africa the French Football team were the joke of world football. Evra and his boys were Banned for up to 6 games after a dispute after a row between the then manager Raymond Domenech and Nicholas Anelka during half time of the defeat to the Mexicans (including a fairly unknown Hernandez). They went out at the group stage after being beaten by South Africa 2-1 and Domench, Anelka and Henry were no more. Few survived but the ring leader of the “boycott” Patrice Evra remains as back up to Clichy who has made himself comfortable at left back.

Former Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter centre back Laurent Blanc signed on to try and organise the zoo that was the national side in 2010. since then the French have been a force. No more joke at the French expense. THEY ARE BACK. Or are they? In 2006 they looked rubbish and got to the final. In 2010 they look balanced and it went to pot. Blanc was promised a new contract if he got the French to the Euro and not the French FA wont give him one so he thinks he is leaving after this Tournament.

They team itself looks as good as any in world football. They could beat any team in the world but in the same breath it wouldn’t shock me to see them lose to someone like Latvia (not picking on Latvia). With the likes of Benzema, Ribery, Nasri, Mexes, Malouda, Clichy, Evra, Lloris and M’vila (who may be injured judging by last nights game). The French are the ultimate disappointment in world football. Since 1998 they have either been the best or the biggest disappointment. Since the retirement of Zidane they have been floppy. 4 years ago they were knocked out of the group stage (they were in tough group but still) after back to back defeats to Holland (4-1) and Italy (2-0). They finished bottom and were rated the 2nd worst team in Austria and Switzerland. In South Africa 2010 they went out Group stage and were ranked 29th best team out of 32 teams.

This team isn’t bad they have only included 3 strikers Menez (who plays mainly on the wing), Benzema and Giroud (the Montpellier striker has been in really good form this season to earn his call up). Bearing in mind the players they have left at home (Gameiro, Cisse, Gomis, Saha and Remy) this tells me that they are going 1 up front with maybe 3 in behind with the like of Nasri, Malouda, Ribery, Ben Afra and Martin supporting Benzema with 2 holding players Matuidi, M’vila (if fit), Diarra or Cabaye. Arsenals Sanga is a big loss to them and they have to put a inexpreianced Debuchy or Reveillere in his place at right back. And expect Rami and Mexes to start at Centre back even though Koscielny hit form for Arsenal at the end of the season.

The French on paper should win this group at a canter. England should be the only tough game in the group for them and I would expect a France win or Draw unless the France from the world cup turns up. If that team turns up and they don’t play as a team they will more than likely end up out at the group stage. Ukraine and Sweden shouldn’t be able to stop them nor should they be able to score. I would expect them to win 3 or 0 in both those games if they really wanted to. As an England fan I hope that they crumble because that would really help England get as far as they should. As a football fan I hope the French struggles are over because when they were on top they had some of the best players of all time. Blanc, Barthez, Henry, Trezeguet, Thuram, Viera, Petit and the king of European football Zidane are no more but is it the class of 2012 to lead the French in to a new age of superstar. Only time will tell.

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