Tuesday, June 22, 2010

France v South Africa...the end of an Era....thankfully

I found myself, as I am sure the majority of the watching audience, rooting for South Africa once they went up 1-0.  Clearly the circus that has revolved around Les Bleus caught up to them...well maybe it caught up to them 2 years ago when Dumbenech as not sacked after crashing out of the Euros. The final group standings:

South Africa

Thankfully North Korea is in this World Cup other wise France might have ended dead last of all the teams. Looks much like 2002, other than this time we scored a goal, but little joy in that!

Not sure how much there is to say about this game or the World Cup, I will need a few days to digest this wasted few weeks! So let us give this game a try:

The Good:
  • South African victory, they deserved a win they played positive football and had a real chance once they were up 2-0. Very unfortunate, on a fantastic link up not to be up 3-0 when Mphela cut behind Gallas and saw his point blank shot miss the upper 90 of the French goal. Lloris also made some great saves during the second half to keep his team within striking distance...of what I have no idea..but still. With the win they ensure they will not finish last in the group, gave themselves a chance to go through but it was too little too late.
  • THE END OF THE DOMENECH ERA!!!!! Sad that this is a "good" but it really is the silver lining for long suffering France fans who have watched this bumbling idiot run this team into the ground and waste 4 years of our lives (I give him a "pass" on his first 2 years because they did have a great run at the World Cup 2006). Now if we can also get rid of Escalettes it will make all this pain worth it...
  • Lloris...funny to see him as good after his mistake cost Les Bleus the first goal. However he could have easily mailed this game home, but made save after save and demonstrated brave goalkeeping on more than one situation where he had to make plays diving into on coming strikers' feet. He is a pillar on which Les Bleus will be built moving forward.
  • Uruguay - Mexico. Why good? I am glad that game did not end in a 0-0 draw from the few minutes I watched it was clear that neither team was looking for a simple draw. I think both sides wanted to avoid Argentina at all costs.
The Bad:
  • The red card on Gourcuff, not really sure how that warranted a straight red card other than it was committed on a player from the host nation. The Bordeaux player was jumping for a head ball and while his elbow was high he did not swing it with any malicious intent. Watch any game and you see much worse elbows on the same ball a dozen of times that never get called. A poor call that changed the game. Another questionable call by the official.
The Ugly:

  • The French adventure in South Africa how can it not be considered anything but bad? Starting with questionable roster selections - no Benzema nor Nasri? Through what appeared to be an interesting move - going to a 4-3-3 only to see that jettisoned at the first game with no explanation and reverting back to a 4-2-3-1 that had not been used in any practice session! Couple this with a nonsensical shuffling of line ups - Govou on the right really? Anelka as lone striker when that is clearly not his best place. Ribery in the middle...um really. Let us not forget the mutiny over the past 48 hours, Anelka sent home, players not practicing and Domenech reading statements.  Then there was Domenech coming out prior to the South Africa game and blasting his players, hey you might be mad at them, but reserve that for after the game! Show some leadership. Oh then there was the game - France showed some signs of life but lost 2-1 and it could have been worse. I will say Les Bleus showed more fight than they had during the Mexico game. Thankfully the adventure for Les Bleus is over, France will head home on Wednesday turn the keys over to Laurent Blanc, who has a difficult task ahead but in some ways made much easier after this result, more on that later.
  • Domenech...yes he gets his own bullet point. I am sure I will have a longer post in a few days outlining how terrible the past 6 years under this idiot has been for France, the players and the fans. However it ended in a very ugly manner for him - not shaking hands with his counterpart! There is no reason not to shake hands with your opponent. South Africa played well, played hard and deserved the victory. I am sure that Domenech was bitter about some comments Parreira made after France knocked off Ireland to get to the World Cup...but seriously Domenech shake the man's hand, whisper what you want to him but that act puts a final exclamation point on what a complete buffoon you have been and are -

  • And by extension Escalettes. How could you have allowed such a buffoon run this team for SIX years!!!! I understand allowing him to go tot he Euros in 2008, he did have a World Cup finals on his resume. But after that disgraceful adventure to allow him to continue is criminal! He was the only one that kept the faith in Domenech and he, as Inspector Clouseau, also needs to go away. Escalettes stated he would not be stepping down, however in July the Federation's committee will have their meeting, where hope he is "convinced" to depart his post. There is no other way to look at this than to blame Escalettes for wasting 2 years of this team's time and energy let alone the fans.

So the end of the French run at this World Cup comes to an sputtering and embarrassing end. But there is a silver lining in this otherwise pitch black cloud. Laurent Blanc will come in this week or next and has carte blanche to do what he thinks is right to rebuild this side. This is not always the case, new manager sometimes have to live in the shadow of the previous managers decisions that "seemed" to work or have to put up with established expectations in the dressing room. This is different. This team has reached such a rock bottom point, no one in the Federation, the press, the dressing room or in France will have any Domenech legacy to defend, other than one of ineptitude. Blanc's honeymoon should prove much longer than most. Now what he does with this honeymoon is up to the man. However, unlike Domenech, I think Blanc has the insight, intelligence, respect and vision to put this train back on the right tracks.

It all starts again in 6 weeks with a friendly against Norway and the real fun begins Sept 3rd when Les Bleus kick off their Euro qualifying campaign.



philip said...

That was their best game of the tournament. I'm just glad they at least scored. Now we must look ahead next stop Norway.

Allez les bleus
Allez Blanc

GFC said...

Oh had they not scored it would have been that much worse, hard to imagine! But somehow this was slightly better than the fiasco from South Korea/Japan in 2002!

GFC said...

ESPN's latest "power ranking" has Les Bleus dead last for the World Cup...deserved ranking.

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