Wednesday, August 09, 2006

International restart - French team

The great part of international football is that even after a great tournament like the world cup, games start shortly after the event ends, there is no "dead period." So seeing Domenech list I have some comments, first the list:

Gardiens : Grégory COUPET (Olympique Lyonnais), Mickaël LANDREAU (Paris-SG)
Défenseurs : Eric ABIDAL (Olympique Lyonnais), Jean-Alain BOUMSONG (Newcastle), François CLERC (Olympique Lyonnais), William GALLAS (Chelsea), Gaël GIVET (Monaco), Philippe MEXES (AS Rome), Willy SAGNOL (Bayern Munich)
Milieux de Terrain : Alou DIARRA (Lens), Julien FAUBERT (Bordeaux), Florent MALOUDA (Olympique Lyonnais), Rio Antonio MAVUBA (Bordeaux), Jérémy TOULALAN (Olympique Lyonnais), Patrick VIEIRA (Inter Milan)
Attaquants : Thierry HENRY (Arsenal), Franck RIBERY (Olympique de Marseille), Louis SAHA (Manchester United), David TREZEGUET (Juventus Turin), Sylvain WILTORD (Olympique Lyonnais)

Overall I like most of the selections. Calling up the youth of Mavuba (3 caps with the National team), Toulalan, Faubert (first National team selection), Clerc is a wise move. I also like seeing Mexes back in the mix, depending on what Thuram does, he has not officially annouced his retirement and I hope he stays, Mexes could be the player to develop a partnership with Gallas in the middle of the French defense. Mexes has the ability and plays on the big stage (AS Roma) to be able to form a strong tandem with Gallas, I am just fearful of Boumsong being the heir apparent....

The one player I question is Wiltord. While he has brought a lot to the French team, it is his time to move on. His World Cup was mediocre, and he is not getting any younger. I would have rather seen Domenech take another young striker: Sinama-Pongolle, LeTallac, or even an attacking midfielder like Gourcuff. Domenech needs to get more of the young attacking players into the mix get them to develop along side players like Henry and Trezeguet. Wiltord will not be at the World Cup in 2010 and most likely not at the Euro, so why "waste" a friendly by selecting him?

Final thoughts: please tell Barthez to retire from International Football, again he also has done a tremendous amount for Les Bleus but it is time to turn the page, the reason he was not "selected" was due to Barthez not having a club....Rumors are abound that Makelele might not really be retired, I hope that that is true, he still has a lot to give....Thuram is also mum on his future, while he is no spring chicken the way he played during the world cup impressed me with his motor, I think he could still play for another 2 years, unlike other prior French central defenders (desailly the one that comes in mind) I do not see Thuram falling. He plays well because of his incredible understanding of positioning and does not rely soley on incredible atheletic ability.

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