Tuesday, October 11, 2011

France v Bosnia, comes down to this...

 Okay maybe I am being a bit dramatic...but it really should not have come down to this. When France went to Bosnia and came out with a 2-0 victory, I was convinced that Les Bleus would be in the drivers seat going into Tuesday's last game of qualifiers. I realize that France is not in danger of pulling a "1993" when they had two home games, only needing a point and lost both matches thereby eliminating a solid team from going to World Cup 1994 (they had the likes of Petit, Ginola, Cantona, Papin, Deschamps, Desailly and a certain Laurent Blanc...looking back that was a stacked team). I think it would have been interesting to see Cantona/Papin on the US pitches during the tournament, alas we will never know what could have been.

Painful to watch....and what WHAT was Ginola doing crossing the ball??? Just dribble to the corner and look for Bulgaria to foul you!!! I also love the fact Bulgarian TV had the wrong score on the screen....even more painful!

But back to the present.

France did the necessary by defeating Albania last Friday ensuring at least being able to head to a home-away against another second place team, but do we really want to go there? I certainly do not. France head into the match knowing they only need a draw and they will win the group. But I think this might be disadvantageous for Les Bleus. Bosnia have nothing to lose, if they draw or lose they go to the knock out round, France finish first of the group. So why not go for the win, throw caution to the wind, you are playing on the road put the pressure on the hosts. This is why this match is going to prove to be a stern test for Blanc and his team. Can he ensure his players stay aggressive, focused and within the situation? If the games is level late will the French try to milk the clock looking for a draw?

I think that Blanc and the team are up for the task, they know that they do not want to open the doors to any comparison to the Domenech side that got to the World Cup via the back door and in dubious fashion. So how will Blanc approach this match, he appears to have Gameiro back in the fold as well as Abidal. Might he revert back to his usual 4-2-3-1, giving his midfield more defensive muscle? Or go back to a 4-3-3 which worked very well away to Bosnia where he actually put out 3 holding players - Diarra, Diaby and M'Vila. Based on what is reported from Clairefontaine it remains a mystery.

The man to watch for Bosnia
From what appears coming from training session, we can expect the back line to have Evra on the left, Reveillere on the right with Abidal and Rami in the central pairing. Of course Lloris in goal. The trick now becomes the rest of the formation. I think that Blanc will revert back to his 4-2-3-1, he will look to stabilize the midfield, try to choke off the service to Dzeko who is the main threat for Bosnia. Clamp down on the likes of Pjanic and co. I see M'Vila and Diarra having the holding responsibilities and Cabaye preferred to Nasri, even though the former had a stellar game against Albania. With Malouda left and Remy right, Gameiro or Cisse up front. I would see the former up front over Cisse...why? Because this formation can quickly morph into a 4-3-3 with Cabaye dropping deeper, Malouda and Remy pushing up high to work in tandem with the striker - Gameiro who is better in this system than Cisse.

This would allow Blanc to have 3 midfielders who can work the midfield, maintain possession and look to spring the wingers, with Gameiro ready to pounce in the penalty area. If Blanc is chasing a goal, he can insert Nasri to take up the right side, push Remy higher, or even have Nasri slot in the middle and have Valbuena come in for the right.

What Blanc fears, and rightfully so, is the Bosnian midfield getting the space needed to feed Dzeko who can be an absolute handful.

I look for a tense match, both teams will not want to back down. Bosnia will score first, but France will counter and find a late winner. France 2 (Malouda, Nasri) - Bosnia 1 (Dzeko)

Allez les Bleus!


Anonymous said...

1993 moment was one of my heart breaking moment in my life. That time i was 10th standard student. i got news from CNN. But Every body Forget the Previous Match where France loose Isreal by 3-2. That game was more easier than Bulgaria. If France get any point from That match........

My opinion if france qualify 1994 world cup , France performance would be great. Because 3rd and 4th team was Sweden and Bulgaria. Both team qualified from France Group.....1994 was a heart breaking world cup..no Papa, Cantona.... or many more



GFC said...

I agree, looking back at that squad they had the talent to go far in the tournament. However one must wonder whether or not that experience gave them the spine to go on and win in 1998 and then win the Euros in 2000 - Desailly, Petit, Deschamps and Blanc - were all on the pitch at the Parc Des Princes that night.

But it would have been great to see Papin, Cantona and Ginola have a run at the World Cup!