Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Les Bleus win: 2-1 win over Costa Rica

So Les Bleus get the essential done - a victory over Costa Rica 2 to 1. The second half took on a dimension of creativity and flowing football with the additions of ADiarra, Diaby, Henry and especially Valbuena. Le Petit Velo not only got his first cap but also his first goal for Les Bleus on a nice build up between himself and Diaby. A quick analysis of the match:

The Good:
  • Le Petit Velo, Valbuena looked very good for the time he spent on the pitch. He gave the right side of the attack some bite and creativity. Clearly based on his goal, a strike from distance, he is not afraid to take his chances when afforded. Much like Ribery on the left, he is not afraid to take on defenders, look to create and take his scoring chances when he can. Could be the option on the right wing, to me the 25 minutes on the pitch showed much more than the time Gouvou spent manning the right wing. Something to watch for in the next two matches. Similar to 4 years ago when Ribery was thought to be a late game offensive substitute, but played  himself into a starting role, Le Petit Velo could repeat that history.
  • Abidal looked comfortable at central defense, although he backed off Hernandez allowing the striker to get a clean strike that found its way to the back of the net. The Barcelona man looked more sure of himself and aggressive in second half.
  • The play of Malouda and Gourcuff was very encouraging, he was able to co-habitate on the left side with Ribery. With Gourcuff he easily slotted in the middle of the pitch and allowed himself to come deeper for the ball - where clearly the additional space for Gourcuff was good for his passing. Both players also were not afraid to try their luck from distance, something I would like to see more of, forcing defenses to defend higher and therefore opening some space for diagonal passes and through balls.
The Bad:
  • France's center forward - At times I felt Anelka was lost not really getting the service necessary and not sure if he should drop deeper to pick up the ball. Making him a little bit of a non factor, granted he did seem to attract 2 defenders which opened up the wings for Ribery. Bringing in Henry at the half time did not appear to change much in terms of the positions success. Maybe Cisse could be an option?
  • Defensive gaps - we all knew that in a 4-3-3 without the usual 2 holding midfielders there might be gaps in the middle for Les Bleus, much was asked of Toulalan. He did his job admirably but at times it was clear the team was trying to figure out back tracking responsibilities and how to play with the space.  It is something to watch and that will need to be worked on, I am not saying go back to a 4-2-3-1 but France will need to be clear as to how to defend as a team.
  • Defending set pieces, once again France escaped after a wide open header off a corner end of the first half was only saved by Mandanda's cross bar. I still do not understand how a team of professionals cannot defend better on set pieces.

The Ugly
  • Gallas, not that his play was bad, but the fact he came off at half time is a little unsettling. Granted you do not want him playing 90 minutes in his first action, but I hope this was precautionary and not because he re-aggravated his injury. According to tomwfootball there is nothing to worry about...let us hope.
  • Not sure Gouvou did much today to warrant him being the starting right winger. He had moments but overall the right side was devoid of creativity or threat to Costa Rica with the Lyon man out there.
  • The goal Mandanda gave up was not pretty. Granted the ball took a tough skip on the way to the back of the net, but a professional keeper who can see the shot from that distance needs to do better. Of course the fact Abidal backed off allowing an open shot was not pretty either.
A victory, as minor as it can be, is a victory, I like the new blood infused into the side. I think that Valbuena showed something today and is a real option as the right winger. Let us see what happens this Sunday for the next match.


philip said...

Hopefully Le petit will do what Ribery did in 2006 and not a Gomis in 2008.

Also I really wanted Gourcuff to score almost scored a goal similar to the one in Romania

GFC said...

Clearly Gourcuff has his shooting shoes on, which I think is a good thing. He has a powerful and accurate shot from distance, when he is given the space, which I think happens in the 4-3-3 he needs to take advantage of it. That should open up the defense, forcing defenders to push higher to counter his shooting which then opens up passing lanes.

As for Valbuena, I realize 20 minutes does not make ones future, but he demonstrated much of what Ribery brings to the left wing - pace, creativity, ability to take on defenders and can score. Something France sorely need to balance their attack. Let us see if he gets a chance on Sunday to play for the bulk of the game.

Anonymous said...

TV 5 Asia did not telecast this match.. so i was unlucky ...but why Ribeary waring 22 not 7?
also same aout number 10... not Govue



From Bangladesh

GFC said...

TV5 did not broadcast the match, unfortunately. My web source was incorrect, I already checked and ESPN3 will be showing the France v China match on June 4. As for the kits, I do not think that the numbers worn yesterday correspond to what will be worn once the World Cup starts - Anelka 39. FIFA is strict that teams wear numbers 1 thru 23 so no 39 for Anelka once the tournament starts!

Jean-Fran├žois said...

I can not wait until tomorrow. I hope that France continued to practice the 4-3-3 and that the Defense will do a lot better. My prediction is 3-0, I want Cisse to score. What's yours?

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