Rather than go into the match, let us look backwards and project forward for Les Bleus based on their last few games.
- The defense: no goals allowed over the last 3 games. Granted they have a post to thank for keeping a clean sheet against Romania, but no goals allowed remains no goals allowed. So what to make of what was once a weakness for Les Bleus? First appears that Rami - Mexes is working, maybe it is not the next coming of Blanc-Desailly but what Blanc has allowed is for the partnership to take hold. The true test will come over the next 2 matches against England and Brazil. Lloris is solid and remains a strength for Les Bleus. Question becomes are the fullbacks the best options for France? Or will the likes of Evra or Abidal find their way back to the side? Clichy has played well but still needs some fine tuning. Sagna likewise. Revelliere showed a good discipline these past 2 games but not sure he is the answer on the right.
- The midfield: clearly the strength of the squad, but that has always been the formula for Les Bleus during their successful runs. Carre Magique in the 1980s - Platini, Giresse, Fernandez and Tigana. Or the more recent incarnation with the likes of Deschamps, Petit, Zidane, Vieira, Karembeau and Djorkaeff patrolling the midfield. This new generation has the appearance of finding their core: M'Vila, ADiarra, Malouda, Valbuena, Nasri, Gourcuff and Diaby are all making claims to be the players that will form the next great French midfield. It will be interesting to see if and when Ribery finds his way back into the squad. For now Blanc has a wealth of options to select from, challenge is how to pick the right players and correct balance in the midfield.
- The strikers. What was once a strength for Les Bleus - Anelka, Henry, Trezeguet, Saha, Cisse to name a few, France had what appeared to be an abundance of offensive players. That is no longer the case. While Benzema is slowly starting back on the goal scoring path, but still needs more time at the club level there is a drop off down the list. Hourau? The PSG striker has not been able to recapture his form from a few season back. Payet? Potential yes, but still a work in progress. Gameiro? See Payet. Gignac? Never convinced he is a full international starter. Cisse? Seems to have been forgotten in Greece. Saha? Up there in age. Trezeguet? see Saha. There is some talent and potential, but the striker role remains one that needs to be watched. Benzema must continue to develop and a #2 and #3 striker must emerge for Les Bleus to take another step in the right direction.
|France's greatest #10s|
It is all encouraging...if there is any doubt just think back to this summer in South Africa and how that team made us feel!