La sélection française :
Gardiens : Lloris, Mandanda
Défenseurs : Abidal, Clichy, Evra, Fanni, Gallas, Mexès, Sagna, Squillaci
Milieux : A. Diarra, L. Diarra, Flamini, Nasri, Toulalan
Attaquants : Anelka, Ben Arfa, Benzema, Gourcuff, Govou, Henry, Malouda
Overall nothing too surprising, but here are some thoughts:
- Consistency - One thing that I am glad to see, is Domenech keeping a consistent list from the Sweden game. Even retaining folks like Gourcuff and Fanni. The only changes were the addition of Squillaci, Abidal, and Nasri. These players would have most likely been on the squad had they not been injured.
- The Youth - Domenech has also stayed with the youth. He did not bring back Coupet, but rather stayed with the two young keepers, wonder what that means for Greg long term? I do think this is the proper move, while taking Landreau or Frey as well to make them #1 would not have been questioned, I think that Domenech is signaling that he sees the future with the two youngsters in France.
- No Boumson - While I am sure he will rear his head again....thank goodness he is off the list.
- Govou - Okay next to Boumsong he is my favorite whipping boy...but he scored a brace against Sweden so I guess deserves the call up...I guess.
- Makelele - Okay, why is this "bad" because his name keeps coming up...the fact that Domenech or the press keep throwing out his name is bad. The man has been a nothing but a pure professional for Les Bleus. He was unfortunate to be left off both the World Cup and European Cup winning teams...hard when you have Deschamps, Vieira, Karembeau, and Petit blocking your path.
- Nothing.....yup, I cannot really find anything too ugly with the selection. Now when Domenech decides to have Abidal shoulder Gallas rather than Mexes...then I will call that UGLY
France will come into the qualifiers with a tricky match, heading to Austria. Austria just drew at home against Italy in a match they could have won. It is never easy playing away, but I think that Austria will prove a difficult customer, wanting to demonstrate that hosting the Euros was not a fluke (granted they did not get out of the group stages, but some rank them higher than Les Bleus - http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/30062008/58/euro-2008-euro-power-rankings.html ) Austria played Germany very tough in the tournament and should not be overlooked at home.
France will then need to head home to face a difficult test against Serbia. Serbia should prove to be a difficult team to break down with a defense lead by ManU hard man - Vidic. Serbia will open with Faroe Islands so will head to Paris with the full 3 points and look to hold France to a draw. France might be heading into that game sitting with one point and will be desperate to find a win....a recipe for disaster for Les Bleus!
Domenech has a tough task at hand. His first 4 games will see Les Bleus traveling to Austria, Romania and Lithuania. As well as hosting the tough Serbs. In addition, the FFF has said it would revisit the Domenech situation during this run of games, if Les Bleus start slowly it could spell the end of Domenech's run as France manager. I think it will be hard pressed for France to expect to get 12 points from these matches. Les Bleus should beat Austria and Lithuania, and get a win&draw from the Romania - Serbia games. Coming out of these 4 games with 10 points should be seen as a successful run, 8 points will be acceptable....anything less and we might be seeing Deschamps in charge for the return game against Lithuania.