Saturday, May 29, 2010

France v Tunisia - pre World Cup friendly #2

France will face Tunisia, in Rades, for their second warm up match for the World Cup. Much has been made of the recent 2-1 victory over Costa Rica - especially the usage of the 4-3-3 as well as the scintillating 20 minutes of the Petit Velo - Valbuena. This second match will be an important gauge of how the evolution of the "new" French system is going and what changes, if any, Domenech will make to the starting 11.

A few thoughts -
  • Stick with the 4-3-3. There is not much time before the start of the World Cup, 2 weeks actually, so every occasion France have to play with this formation must be maximized. We all know Les Bleus can always go back to a 4-2-3-1 with the only question being who would shoulder Toulalan as the second holding midfielder. The new system worked well against Costa Rica, granted there were some defensive issues, which are the ones that will take the most time to work out - another reason why Domenech must stick with this formation.
  • Give Valbuena a greater role in this match. Le Petit Velo showed a lot of flair in the time he had against Costa Rica, the question is can he show the same over the full 90 minutes or at least starting against a fresh defense rather than being the "joker" coming in later in the game to run at tired defenses? Much like in 2006 when Ribery was seen as a late game "super" substitute but played his way onto the starting 11 - Valbuena has a chance of animating the right wing of the French much like Ribery does for the left flank.
  • Allow Gallas to get at least 60 minutes. France must determine if the Arsenal defender can hold up to more than 45 minutes...I realize Domenech might want to ease his defender slowly into playing additional minutes. This will be a test of how far along this path Gallas has come.
  • Get Cisse into the rotation. The leading scorer in the Greek domestic league needs to get some run to figure out what he can bring to Les Bleus - whether it be starting up front as the lone striker or on the right wing - or coming in as a substitute. Leverage his pace and flair against tired defenders.
  • A final note, this game will draw Domenech even with Hidalgo in terms of 75 games in charge. Which is nothing short of flabbergasting - Domenech should have been sacked after the disaster of the Euro 2008. Granted Domenech qualified France for 3 straight major tournaments and overachieved in one and flamed out in the second - let us see which side of the ledger this tournament ends up on. 
I would not be surprised if the following starting line would be run out onto the pitch:

Lloris (I think he will get this start and Carrasso the last game)
Sagna - Gallas - Abidal - Evra
Gourcuff - Toulalan - Malouda
Valbuena - Anelka - Ribery

This line up should closely resemble the one that will start against Uruguay on the 11th. This game should resemble the atmosphere that will meet France in South Africa. I do think that Domenech was intelligent in scheduling a game against one of Africa's better quality sides - and playing in a hostile environment. Throw into this the history between both nations and you are guaranteed an animated crowd. A good test for Les Bleus.

Prediction - France 2 Tunisia 0 - Goals from Ribery and Anelka


philip said...

prediction 3-1 france just like last time. Anelka x2 , Gignac

Anonymous said...

is TV5 telecast the Match??

From Bangladesh

Jimbo said...

I think 4-3-3 sucks big time. Malouda is a classical winger, then why the fuck play him as left-half? in front of ribery?? how can Malouda have any impact for the team this way?

And I don't agree with you dude, but Cisee is shit. He's proven over and over again he's not good enough for France. The Greek league is weak, that he was top-scorer there doesn't mean shit.

Jean-Fran├žois said...

GFC, I agree with you ENTIRELY. The more playing time Valbuena gets the happier I am, I would keep him in for about 60 mins and replace him with Cisse.

Sarah will be hosting a liveblog on the French WCB, I'll be there too, I may be late though (around 30 minutes). I have to work from 11-3ish.

Lekarlokin: I have no idea who will telecast the match. However, you can find an online stream on if you run out of luck.

GFC said...

Unfortunately TV5 is not carrying the game, at least not in New England. You can see it on ESPN3 however - online.

Jimbo, I would argue that the 4-2-3-1 is what is slowing down the squad. The 4-3-3 gives the team more attacking room and width. Granted Les Bleus are already down 1-0 to you might be right. As for Cisse, I agree that he is not playing in one of Europe's top leagues, but the number of goals he has scored is nothing to sneer at. He still has the pace and finishing ability he demonstrated with Auxerre so let us give him a shot.

Jimbo said...

GFC, you must be kidding right. France is still playing utterly crap. 4-3-3 hasn't done anything in the positive sense so you may as well revert back to 4-2-3-1. Again I ask, how can you get the most out of Malouda(a winger) when he's playing as a midfielder and has another winger(!!) right in front of him?

The number of goals scored don't mean anything. Low left Kuranyi at home, although being on fire in the Bundesliga, and nobody seems to have minded. Why? because Podolski is a far more accomplished striker than Kuranyi, despite the FC Cologne player scoring only 4 league goals.

Surely there more accomplished strikers than Cisse. Yeah he scored a lot in Greece, but he failed at Sunderland - the worst Premier League team of the season.

Domenech is a stupid idiot he got into a dispute with Trezeguet because Trez 100x better than Cisse.

Philip said...

Jimbo you are right maybe Malouda will not have a big of an impact if they play 4-3-3 but if they go back to their old formation Gourcuff and Ribery will just be shut out and then France would have to rely on winning games by 1-0.

GFC said...

Jimbo, I agree that Les Bleus still have some things to work out and are not playing at a level they could. I would not blame the 4-3-3. I would argue that Domenech does not have a solution for the right wing, well he does - Valbuena - but does not seem to want to start him. As for Malouda and Ribery I would disagree. Malouda plays the same role at Chelsea in a 4-3-3 where he is on the left with Lampard and Ballack in the midfield and has Kalou - Drogba - Anelka as the front 3. I think that he and Ribery have coexisted nicely and do not forget that Malouda used to be a left back so can play even deeper on the pitch.

As for Kuranyi, he was left home because he and Low had a falling out. Podoloski is better, not sure how, when he plays for Germany. I would not use the fact Kuranyi was left home as an example, I think that is a huge mistake for Germany.

For Cisse I would ask who is available for Les Bleus that is head and shoulders better?

Saha, Briand, Menez, Gomis, Gameiro, Remy, Hourau...while each one of these players should be in the conversation I am not sure any are head and shoulders above Cisse at this time. I could argue that Benzema should have been included over Cisse, unfortunately what has Benzema done this season for Real Madrid? And clearly the manager has some issues with the young french star. I would have rather seen Benzema over Gouvou, not sure what the Lyon man really brings to the table.

As for Trezegol, I think what Domenech did with him was criminal, but for this World Cup he was not going to figure in the discussion.

But I will never argue that Domenech is a "stupid idiot" that is 100% the truth!

GFC said...

Correction it is Govou not "Gouvou" as I had typed.

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