Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Les Bleus - Le Horreur....

WC qualifing wednesday has come and gone and once again France has demonstrated their aggravating run of form, ending the match 1-1 after leading most of the second half and once again squandering numerous opportunities. Having been able to watch the replay (thanks Fox Soccer Channel!), it is apparant that France has not found itself, granted that might have been a lot to ask in the two days between the Switerland match.

But once again playing a team that is by no means an upper echelon futbol side, they appear to be themselves far from their upper echelon "status."

The Good:
  • Barthez once again saved the few but dangerous opportunities.
  • Wiltord, this guy just keeps on going, he is overlooked and never really talked about but he is always there.
  • Trezeguet, great opportunistic goal, always a danger up front
The Bad:
  • Lack of killer instinct, I thought that once France scored it would make them play a much looser style of flowing football...far from it.
  • Pedretti, he has all the tools but needs to put it together and take over games with his passing and long balls.
The Ugly:
  • Trezeguet, granted it was a bad tackle but you have to keep your head on straight (no pun intended)
  • Domenech: just don't see the ability to motivate, adapt and change tactics. Why were their no substitutes once France was down to 10 players? Start using your 3 subs strategically, put in your defensive players, waste time, break the rythm of the game...rather he sits by and makes changes when France is already level with Israel at 1-1 in stoppage time! I have to also question his selection of Henry when it appears that he was physically not ready to play, why waste a spot on a roster?
  • Ben Haim, the Israeli defender is getting more and more of a reputation of a diver and a not so clean player (remember the "collapse" from the Rooney "love tap")
This team is teetering on the edge of danger...I am more and more convinced that they will not get the automatic qualification by winning the group, I think that Ireland is clearly the favorite now since they will receive France at Landsdown Road. France will find itself in a battle with Israel and Switzerland for the second place, there is no way the "top 2 second place" teams will come from this group either, not when teams are toiling at 10 points. Assuming that Poland and The Czech Rep/Holland end up as best of second place, meaning that France will most likely (if they are lucky enough to be in second) play one of the following:

  • Serbia (not sure they will beat out Spain for that group)
  • Slovakia/Russia
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Greece (could they knock France out of the WC after their 1-0 win in the Euros?)
None of these teams give me faith, they all play a grinding style of football and are all extremely tough to play at home....France needs to wake up and figure out what they are doing this summer. If not they might be looking for their 4th coach in 4 major tournaments, maybe this time they can get Deschamps!

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