Monday, June 26, 2006

French system - the Maginot Line.....

According the sports daily L'Equipe, France will line up in a 4-2-3-1 against Spain: Barthez - Sagnol, Thuram, Gallas, Abidal - Makelele, Vieira, Ribéry, Malouda, Zidane - Henry.

Ugh...not sure about this line up, if the games versus the Swiss and Koreans showed anything is that this system does a few things:

  • Allows teams to focus in on Henry, Ribery has yet to demonstrate he can finish, Zidane has not shown any ability to break down defenses with dribbles, and Henry alone gets boxed in. With Trezeguet teams need to be respectful of his scoring ability, in addition Trezeguet gives France the option to play off him in the air, something Henry cannot do (can you name for me the last time Henry scored off a header?)
  • The midfield gets bogged down. While Malouda and Ribery are spark plugs and can cover the entire pitch, Zidane's presence in the middle makes these runs less dangerous to the opposition. When Zidane slots higher, behind Henry, he has not demonstrated the old flair to shot and open up the field.
I realize this is the "safe" option, one that will ensure France has the necessary coverage in the middle of the pitch and has Zidane to orchestrate the game. But not sure that Henry running around alone up front will really scare Spain.

We all know what happened with the Maginot line, hopefully the same does not occur tuesday, alas I fear this is the last game we see Zidane and Thuram (I hold out hope that Makelele stays on)....and maybe (hopefully) the last game we might see Domenech.

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