Friday, August 26, 2011

Les Bleus get ready for Euro qualifiers - the home stretch

Ok maybe not the home stretch, but these next two games will go a long way in determining if France will be present next summer at the Euros. France are sitting in a good position, but they should not assume the qualification is in the bag at all.

Group D


1France France620121041192713
2Belarus Belarus722011133162412
3Bosnia-Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina620111131287110
4Romania Romania62100122228628
5Albania Albania621001222246-28
6Luxembourg Luxembourg7012004016113-121

France are a point up on Belarus, but with a game in hand. Bosnia still remains a threat, only 3 points back and with the last game of qualifiers in Paris, any slip up by Les Bleus and Bosnia could pull to the head of the pack. Forcing a decisive last game in Paris. With away matches at Albania and Romania upcoming, how France fare will determine whether or not we will have to sweat out the remaining matches or whether Blanc will be able to leverage those matches as preparation for the Euros.

First the the list from Blanc:

Lloris, Mandanda, Carrasso
Abidal, Evra, Kaboul, Rami, Koscielny, Rami, Réveillère, Sagna
Cabaye, A. Diarra, M’Vila, Malouda, Martin, Matuidi, Nasri, Valbuena
Benzema, Gameiro, Hoarau, Ménez, Ribéry, Rémy

No real surprises. As Blanc stated these are qualifiers, so not the time to start tinkering with the roster or adding players who are seen in better form than others.  What Blanc also spoke of, was to expect these two games to be tough, physical matches. Similar to what France went through against Bosnia. Does this shed some light on what could be a 4-3-3? Considering Blanc will also be without his central defensive pairing of Rami-Mexes. Mexes remains on the shelf recovering from injury and Rami is suspended for the Albania match. He might look to add even more muscle to his midfield and protect his back 4.

Based on the Chile match, I think we will see Sagna, Kaboul, Abidal, Evra on the back line. A 3 man midfield - ADiarra, Martin and M'Vila. A three man attacking formation - Malouda/Ribery on the left, Benzema up front and Remy on the right. Might also be seen as a 4-2-3-1, but I think Blanc will look to have Martin play much deeper. Without a healthy Diaby, I do not think Blanc can slot 3 holding midfielders in the 4-3-3.

Blanc must expect to deal with two physical teams and will need to counter with his own tougher midfield and look to get goals on the break or from a deep counter. We will be able to get a sense as the team starts to train ahead of the matches.

Allez les Bleus


Jeff said...

Fair play. I do not think Nasri will be dropped.

J-F said...

I am very excited for these matches. However for some reason Albania makes me more nervious then Romania at this point. Maybe it is because we have not played them yet, but playing out in Eastern Europe has always been a challenge for Les Bleus. I went in person to the France Romania Qualifier last October and France really controlled the entire match and the scoreline could have been alot higher (as always...)

I think Blanc really seems to like Martin, but I would much rather see Nasri in the starting lineup.

GFC said...

Albania has always been a boogieman for France. The Platini teams of the 1980s struggled there as well. What I fear about the Albania match is the central defense without Rami or Mexes. As for Romania, France know they can do well there, although it will also prove to be a tough match. Having played them last qualifiers, and pulling out a draw after being down 0-2 (a wonder goal from Gourcuff maybe his best game in Blue).

France need to come out with at least 4 points from these two matches. Anything less will make the remaining matches a bit nervy.

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