Monday, November 14, 2005

Weekend Internationals

Thanks to TV5, I was able to watch, actually suffer through the France-Germany futball friendly. For those of you that were not able to see the friendly it ended up 0-0...so what to take from a lackluster match?

  1. France needs to shore up its midfield. Granted France was without Zidane and Vieira to control the midfield, and it showed. With Makelele, Dhorasso, Sagnol and Malouda in the midfield there was not rythm and more concerning no "toughness" not for lack of effort but when you look a that line up you think you are watching and undre 6 foot basketball team, maybe under 5' 5"...Makelele cannot play covering midfield, he needs to be able to roam and hunt down loose balls and clean up, but not mark players one on one. Dhorasso is a solid player but not the main maestro for a team. Malouda is solid but again needs to be allowed to run free, and Sagnol is not a midfielder but a very very talented defender. Now at the end of the match France started to look like what we expect, with the entry of Rothen in the midfield he demonstrated his ability to create and break down defenses, while Anelka and Cisse showed that their pace and ball ability cause defenses fits.
  2. In order to challenge Domench needs to come stop his experimenting with players out of position as well as leverage all the talent he has at his disposal. Gallas should be paired with Thuram in the middle (not that Boumsong is playing poorly, but Gallas is out of position and why weaken a team just to fit in players). The commentators on TV5 made a great point, why isn't Clichy playing left back for les bleus? He is playing in one of the hardest leagues in football for one of the best clubs, Arsenal. His emergence at Arsenal may make Cole expendable, so why is not with the senior French national team? He is not a young kid, hitting his stride at 22. He is a natural lefty, something Gallas is not, plays solid defense, makes strong offensive runs and has great speed. Domench then needs to ensure he has the proper muscle and talent - get tough guys like Dacourt back as well as players like Micoud to back up Zidane. Micound and Dacourt both have proved themselves at the club level both would provide more than adequent cover for Vieira and Zidane. My line up would be: Coupet - Clichy, Gallas, Thuram, Sagnol - Vieira, Makelele, Zidane, Rothen - Henry, Trezeguet. With Anelka, Cisse, Micoud, Dacourt, Boumsong, Wiltord on the bench. Two natural lefties - clichy and Rothen, a vulture goal scorer - Trezeguet, the maestro - Zidane, two rocks in the central defense - Thuram and Gallas, a solid back that has lethal crosses - Sagnol, two engines - Vieira and Makelele and a player that can score from anywhere - Henry, finally a solid dependible keeper in Coupet.
  3. Germany could be very good...or not. The first 50 minutes Germany looked like the Germany of old, playing clamp down defense, intimidating with hard tackles, and being opportunistic with attacking surges. However the last 20 minutes they looked like the team that has been plagued by defensive problems, allowing numerous breaks from Anekla, Cisse and Rothen...Germany remains a team in flux on the back 4, something that Klinsman will need to solve. The one player that I must admit I was impressed with was Ballock who controled tempo and really showed how classy he is as a midfielder.

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