Posts Tagged ‘France’

French Revolution

Posted: June 21, 2010 in World Cup
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Wow, the French national team is in complete disarray. Maybe they should have sacked Domenech some time back. Whatever the reason is, Laurent Blanc, who’s taking over after Domenech, will be kept busy trying to restore normalcy to that sorry excuse of a football team at the moment.

Evra came out and claimed that there is a traitor in the French camp and apparently narrowed in on him the next day, the fitness coach Robert Duverne. An argument followed and apparently the two of them had to be separated by the Spawn of Satan (Domenech).

The French players are ticked off with the decision to send Anelka back home and they decided not to turn up for training. They’re instead chilling in their luxury hotel (one of the few teams to take up such a place) and passing the bill to French taxpayers.

After the argument between Duverne and Evra, the team director Jean Louis Valentin resigned because of the disgrace it brought about. What an upright guy! Instead of trying to fix the problems of the team, he resigns before he gets any more shit from anyone.

The French players also said that they would “play for honour” in their last group game against South Africa.

In Raymond Domenech-land, everything is going fine I’m sure. Most supporters of the French team would have started panicking by now. They really look like they’re clueless as to how they’re going to score, don’t they?

Sidney Govou had an excellent chance early on, set up by Franck Ribery. A simple ball right into the penalty box at Govou’s feet, and he squanders the chance. I must say that Uruguay did not do too much during the game either. France really started the better of the two sides, although both teams were pretty scrappy.

Uruguay looked like they were missing their entire midfield at points. Diego Forlan seems to have shouldered most of the responsibility when it comes to shooting. And yet, when the time came, he missed a pretty simple chance by his standards. Suarez was pretty useless throughout the game except for when he set up Forlan for the aforementioned shot. He was caught offside way too often, and a lot of times when he was staring at the defensive line.

Gourcuff was pretty disappointing as well. Apart from the one free kick which Muslera had to scramble to get away, he didn’t do too much. He tried shooting way too often even though he never really created enough space for himself. It was a bit like this

Commentator – It’s Gourcuff….

*He shoots*

*Bang – hits a defender*

Commentator – Gourcuff again …

*He shoots*

*Bang – hits a defender*

Slightly disappointing - Gourcuff

Malouda didn’t start. He apparently came out after the China game and said that France had a lot of problems to fix. Maybe Domenech didn’t really like it and decided to give his place to Diaby. I must say that Diaby played really well, although it does tell you a lot about the game when Diaby is the most exciting player on the pitch. There were times he would dribble past 2-3 Uruguayan players. Hold up the ball and play a simple pass to someone in a better position.

Had a good game, even without kicking Terry

Lodeiro got sent off after a second bookable offence on Sagna. It was quite a terrible challenge and the decision was fair in my opinion. I’m sure he feels like an idiot now.

Although, the positive for France is that they did not concede in this game. Most people (myself included) expected Uruguay to attack this weird French Centre Back pairing and atleast score one goal. However, they failed to do so. If you ask me, I think they showed too much respect to France.

So how do things stand in Group A? Mexico and South Africa played out a 1-1 draw that was more interesting than the France versus Uruguay draw. The opener wasn’t a cracking game by any stretch of the imagination, but for those who watched both – the former was certainly cracking when compared to the latter.

Everyone’s got a point. Uruguay and France spurned a great chance to gain some mileage after watching South Africa and Mexico draw the first game. This group is still wide open, of course (as is natural when only a game each has been played

Player ratings –

France

Lloris – 6 – Hardly had anything to do throughout the match

Sagna – 7 – Lot of crosses, and solid defensively

Gallas and Abidal – 7 – Kept the duo of Suarez and Forlan really quiet

Evra – 6 – Had an okay game, but knowing Evra’s potential even he would admit it wasn’t his best.

Toulalan – 8 – Played really well. Won the ball gazzillion times and the reason for France to dominate in midfield

Diaby – 7.5 – Showed some really good talent during the game. Not so much in the second half as the first.

Gourcuff – 3 – Read above

Govou – 4 – Squandered the best chance of the match, but that’s okay. Didn’t do too much, didn’t pass the ball, didn’t cross – nothing.

Anelka – 5.5 – Started well. Then again, the system doesn’t suit him as mentioned in the France review. So it isn’t really his fault, more Domenech’s

Ribery – 6 – Started well, ended well. Okay in between. Set up Govou for the best chance of the match

France

Posted: June 7, 2010 in World Cup
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Any coach would LOVE to take up the managerial job of the French National Squad. Forget coach, any football loving individual would love to do it. I’d love to do it, and I’m sure I will do a better job than Raymond Domenech.

Sure, it may only have been a shock defeat to China, but seeing that they were incapable of scoring, especially when they dominated the game reflects low morale more than anything. China apparently were missing a lot of regular first team players

They have definitely got one of the best squads that I’ve ever seen. Some people might be pissed off that Benzema hasn’t been given a call, but then again, he hasn’t exactly had a good season with Real Madrid either has he. He’s been relegated to the bench and rightfully so, with Higuain scoring so many goals. I’m not sure as to why Sidney Govou is in the team instead of Benzema.

In Hugo Lloris, they have a fantastic goalkeeper, who some may say single handedly knocked Madrid out of the Champions League. They have Patrice Evra, who has had a fantastic season for Manchester United and is a terror on the left flank. This is assuming that Domenech doesn’t pull a Domenech and play Abidal in that position instead of Evra.

Although, we don’t really need to worry about that because Domenech has pulled another trick out of his bag by playing Abidal as centre back along with William Gallas. This is probably the reason France have been unable to keep a clean sheet in their friendlies. Squillaci is a centre back and has been playing that role for a while, so why not try him out there, Raymond? Sagna who’s had a very indifferent season will most likely start on the right. They also have Reveillere for the right back slot, a more attacking player for that position.

Not too solid - Abidal and Gallas

Domenech is most likely going to play a 4-3-3. This is a very attacking formation and is better than the 4-2-3-1 that he played against Costa Rica et al where the team struggled. Gourcuff will definitely start as playmaker for the French as he is considered the natural successor to Zinedine Zidane (poor Gourcuff, I don’t know how he’ll live up to that). He’s a good player, but I don’t know who will play in that role if (god forbid) something should happen to him. Malouda is also going to play in the midfield instead of his preferred position on the left of the attacking three. This is where he usually plays for Chelsea and he has excelled in this role. Jeremy Toulalan is most likely going to play the holding role in midfield.

Domenech is most likely going to play the combination of Ribery, Anelka and Govou up front. This will not work for the simple reason that Anelka likes to drift into midfield and pick up balls which means that the wingers will have no Blue Shirt (or White, depending on which one they wear) to aim for in the middle. Okay, so what are the other options, now that we know Benzema is not one?

Gignac? In 2008-09, from 38 appearances he scored 24 goals and had 5 assists. In 2009-10 he made 31 appearances and scored 8 goals and had 4 assists (according to Wiki, he was still top scorer for Toulouse). It isn’t a great record especially since playing he plays in the French league which (no disrespect to the French League) isn’t as competitive as Spain, England, Germany or Italy.

I think he might do okay, if all you need is someone to hold the ball and play it on to your fellow strikers and midfielders who arrive late, but I’m not so sure whether he’ll work as an out and out target man, a poacher who picks up everything in the box and given two chances will convert one.

Cisse is another option for Domenech. The Panathanaikos man has scored 20 plus goals for the Greek club in the previous season. He’s okay, but isn’t world class either. Valbuena is an option as well, but I’m not really sure how well he would perform if you just threw him into the World Cup like that. All those who want to see Henry play a major role in this tournament will be disappointed because as far as Domenech (although we know that Guardiola agrees with him on this one) is concerned he’s past his prime.  He’s going to be reduced to a bit part player.

"Alright, Hugo, you play as striker, let's see if that works"

The biggest mistake that Domenech made was to keep playing the same 3 up front in all their friendlies and expecting a miracle. He should’ve tried a different three to test each line up’s efficiency. Truth be told, I’m pretty sure he’ll still go ahead with the same three that played all the friendlies and failed to deliver. That, my friends, is the brilliance of Raymond Domenech and perhaps the single reason that France will not do will this World Cup.

Squad –

Goalkeepers : Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda(Olympique Marseille) and Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux)

Defenders : Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), William Gallas (Arsenal), Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla), Marc Planus (Girondins Bordeaux), Gael Clichy(Arsenal) and Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyon)

Gelandang : Alou Diarra(Girondins Bordeaux), Jeremy Toulalan (Olympique Lyon), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Yoann Gourcuff (Girondins Bordeaux), Abou Diaby (Arsenal) and Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

Strikers : Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Olympique Lyon), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos) and Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)

Expected Line Up (Even though nobody can be too sure other than Domenech)

Lloris

Sagna                         Gallas                        Abidal                    Evra

Gourcuff                   Toulalan                   Malouda

Govou                   Anelka                  Ribery

Predictions – Unpredictable!

No, only joking. I’m not so sure if they will get out of their group stage. Uruguay is a good team, so is Mexico. They should beat South Africa. Nonetheless, with the talent that they have, they had better make it out of the group stages, else it is quite an embarrassment. Maybe they’ll finish two in the group stages and then we’ll have, in the first knock out round, the Battle of the Clueless Managers between Domenech and Maradona. Realistic prediction – first knock out round, although I hope their squad surprises me, because they’re nice to watch when in full flow.