|Le Petit Prince scored some points|
- A win....a come from behind win none the less. Regardless of what the ranking is for Iceland in the world...131 if you are curious...going down 2-0 at half time and being able to come back in the second half to win the game has to be encouraging. France made two defensive gaffs in the first half and demonstrated what happens when professional football players are given a chance. But Les Bleus continue to press on and were rewarded with a victory. Something to build on...the alternative would have been difficult to accept.
- The right side of the formation - Ben Arfa and Debuchy. What was interesting with these two players on the field was that what tends to be a left heavy attack for France now switched to the right side. The Newcastle midfielder was constantly putting the Iceland defense on its collective heel, while the Lille right back was constantly making dangerous overlapping runs from his fullback spot. Debuchy even open his international scoring account, aggressively pouncing on a deviated ball in the box. I have a feeling this will be the right side for Blanc heading into the Euros and might be one we see for a few years.
- Giroud once again showed why he is a viable option up top for France. While he did not score he got the assist on both Ribery and Rami's goals. Both times doing what a penalty box striker should do - receive the ball and distribute to cutting teammates. His ability in the air and to hold the ball deep might make him a valuable offensive joker during the tournament.
- Going down 2-0 the way France did was not good...a tentative play on 50/50 ball by Mexes led to the first goal and some sloppy covering by Evra led to the second. The Manchester United defender was sloppy again in the second half forcing a terrific save from Mandanda. I think that part of the sloppy play was the fact Blanc did not align a true holding midfielder. This forced the back 4 of France to play higher on the ball than usual. Mexes was pushing up the field to challenge the Icelandic offense...only allowing space to be created behind him. I would hope that the introduction of M'Vila would alleviate this problem. But something to keep an eye on.
- The left side of the attack. What has been the strength for France recently was absent tonight. Granted the usual starter - Ribery on the left wing - did not play until the last 15 minutes and when he did the dynamic on the left changed. There was little going on between Menez and Evra. The Manchester United left back at times was invisible offensively, not making any threatening runs. This left Menez alone to try and animate that side. I think the PSG winger did a commendable job, but was a shadow of what the right side was able to do. We shall see if that remains the case if Ribery is inserted back on his preferred wing.
|About as fast as his game was going|
- I have to say Gourcuff did not impress me. And his play was not bad, I would say it was ugly. Why? When he was not on the pitch, it appeared that Les Bleus operated at a different speed. That speed was not slow. To the OL midfielders defense, he is still no 100%. He worked hard for the ball. However every time he came back to get it, the game appeared to slow down. He was sloppy in some of his passes, seemed to head backwards or sidewards too often rather than ahead and just did not seem to bring any offensive creativity or punch. I do not believe he should head to Ukraine in a few weeks.
- Speaking of Gourcuff...the defending of set pieces was not pretty. Iceland's first corner kick went sailing to the back post where TWO Icelandic players were there and only Gourcuff to defend. He was not even in a good position! I am sure that Carrol or Crouch would salivate at being that open on June 11.
Next up - Serbia on Thursday. Should be interesting.