Monday, May 31, 2010

France lackluster draw with Tunisia

Les Bleus played their second preparatory match yesterday in Tunisia and emerged with a very lackluster 1-1 draw. Not sure how much to take from this game but I will try:

The Good:
  • Hmmm not much to go on here...I guess the fact France did not lose is good. I realize I am grasping for straws here, but getting a boring draw is still better than a loss.
  • Ribery is showing his worth on the left wing. The Bayern player is clearly the offensive driving force for Les Bleus. His pace and flair off the left flank supported by Malouda is where the majority of the French offense seems to be coming from the left, the right side is completely deserted, more on this later.
  • First cap for Planus. The Bordeaux central defender received his first cap - congratulations.  He did not have much to do for his time on the pitch but nice to see him get his first international time on the field.
  • No injuries, at least we hope. Gallas did play the match (63 minutes) and appeared free from pain, even scoring the equalizer for France. Of course there are reports today that he had to leave training early due to pain in his right calf...not promising. 
The Bad:
  • Many questions remain from the Costa Rica game, namely how can Les Bleus bring more balance to the attack especially from the right side? With the likes of Ribery and Malouda the left side of the attack is well represented. Gourcuff has a natural tendency to drift back to the center of the pitch. Govou does not nor has ever really impressed me - and is not the type of player that can sustain one side on his own. If France hope to get out of the group stages and go a few rounds they must find a way to reinforce the right side and force teams to respect the ability to threaten from that side. As I have stated in prior postings - why not try Valbuena? Unlike Govou, he can take on defenders and is not afraid to run at teams nor hesitant to try his luck from the slightest opening. Just this alone will force teams to be more balanced in their defending of Les Bleus, otherwise you will start seeing teams just slide their defense to block the French left and trust their outside back to handle the right side of the French attack without too much fear.
  • France giving up an early goal. Once again Les Bleus found themselves chasing the game. They have to correct this very soon, because if they keep up this trend they will not be in South Africa for very long.
The Ugly:
  • Center forward remains ugly in the sense Les Bleus have not appeared to settle or find someone who can be a true center forward in the 4-3-3. Anelka? Hast the talent but seems to draw to dropping deep to receive the ball. Henry? Does not appear to be a solution as a starter. Gignac? The one player who fits the mold of a center forward - big and strong he understands the need to look to be as deep as the last defender and call for the ball once he has established that position. He can score with his head and right foot, left foot remains in question. However could be a good solution to play balls to where he can attack the goal or look to feed on rushing players such as Malouda, Ribery, Anelka (if he goes to the right wing), Govou or Valbuena
  • The questions around central defense remain ugly. Why? Abidal is not a natural central defender and Gallas remains an injury concern. With just over a week to the start of the World Cup the fact your central defense is not 100% set is a major concern.
  • The second talk about boring ugly football, neither team looked like it wanted to really attack and France seemed completely lost without Ribery on the left flank.
There remains one more match against China. It will be interesting to see if Domenech looks to play what should be the starting line up against Uruguay for more than 45 minutes. Also, what if anything Domenech tries to do to get more life to the right side of the French attack. The clock keeps on ticking.


Anonymous said...

I m very lucky that i saw the match through Super Sports 3. But France played bad football and lucky that result was drawn. i think France is no more in Super Power in football.Its very heart to me.

i know little thing abt football but if france will play 4-2-3-1 system and use Maluda and Ribery Properly ...they will get positive Result. Becuse Maluda and Rebery are now in Best in form. so we need to it proper 2006.. ribery as Right wing and Maluda in Left. Grouchf in Middle.
If france played 4-3-3...France will conceding lots of goal. Because France Defense is not good as like 1998 or 2006. That time France Used 2/3 DM. So why not today we use 2 DM???
4-3-3 system...France will exit in First Round and 4-2-3-1 ...may b Semi(Hope we will Champs??)

Jimbo said...

I think France will have exactly the same World Cup as 4 years ago except... now there's no Zidane to save their sorry asses. I just can't imagine this French side won't do anything other than crash and burn. They'll scrape past South Africa, lose to Mexico, and tie with Uruguay, but it won't be enough. Mexico and Uruguay qualify from the group. If by some miracle France do get out of the group, England will destroy them in the 2nd round.

GFC said...

@Lekarlokin, the problem with having Ribery out on the right is that I am not sure he is at his best on that wing. Also, if you put Gourcuff in the middle of the park, high up, he cannot create the space he needs to do what he does best which is free up the strikers with his passing.

I do agree that the defense is not as solid as it has been in the past, it is really down right shaky. I blame Domenech for that, he had over 2 years to start developing and nurturing a central defensive pairing that could have been the keystone for the back 4.

The problem without LDiarra and having not selecting another experienced holding midfielder - it is hard for Domenech to go with 2 holding players.

@Jimbo I feel your frustration and torment towards this squad. I think the 2 factors that are different from 4 years ago is Zidane and Vieira. Let us not forget that it was Vieira that took charge of the match versus Togo to get France through, and then played some of his best football, with Zizou the rest of the way. I stand that the biggest reason Les Bleus did not win was not that Zidane got red carded (clearly that did not help) but that Vieira got injured and had to be substituted out of the finals. That completely changed the dynamic in the midfield. ADiarra and Makelele, while both strong holding midfielders, do not have the offensive side Vieira had.

As for your predictions for the group stages, I could see that happening. I keep going back an forth - France could win the group or finish dead last - either scenario would not surprise me.