Friday, June 22, 2012

France v Spain...preview of World Cup 2014

For those of you not aware, France and Spain are in the same qualifying group for the World Cup 2014. So the match tomorrow is a nice little preview for those games...hahahahaa. First things first, France have backed into the 1/4 finals to face the defending World Cup and European Cup champions. Neither team emerged from the group matches without questions. The biggest are swirling around Les Bleus. Spain, however, do have their own concerns. I spoke with some folks yesterday who stated that Torres is back in form...uh not sure. Yes he scored a brace...against Ireland. Against Croatia he was invisible and was taken off the field. Unlike Gemany, I do not think that Spain is clicking on all cylinders. Let us not forget that had Croatia won the game, and they very well could have, then Spain would be home right now.

France's issues smacked us right in the face against Sweden. Lack of on field leadership, in fighting, lack of heart...general disinterest. Question...the big one...can Blanc reverse this before heading to the game tomorrow? I do not think that Blanc will magically find an on field leader - one of the likes of Vieira, Platini or Zidane in 24 hours. However he can get his troops ready and have them play like they did the past 23 games.

Can he bring joy to Les Bleus?
Les Bleus have a puncher's chance versus Spain. How so? I look for France to play the counter attack style they leveraged for success against Bosnia in qualifications and again in Germany in a friendly. Look for Les Bleus to go to a 4-3-3 again, with a more muscled midfield - Cabaye, Diarra and M'Vila. The three will look to absorb and disrupt any Spanish attacks coming from the midfield. With Cabaye back on the pitch, look for the Newcastle man to continue to act as the link between the back line and the attacking side. The three at top will be Ribery - Benzema - Menez...yup Nasri on the bench. Why Menez? His discipline of staying wide and keeping width to the formation is necessary to keep Spain honest. With Ribery who likes to drift, but really does his best work on the left wing, Les Bleus must have a player that is more natural on the right. This should also provide some cover for Debuchy and allow the right back to get some deeper runs knowing that the right side will not be vacant of a player. France could potentially catch Spain on the counter, force La Rojas to defend deeper.

Of course France will need to get the ball, which is a challenge when playing the Spanish. The last time these two nations met, it was an easy 2-0 victory for Spain.  I do not think we will see the same. Spain has suffered not having a top form Torres nor a healthy Villa. I think France will surprise many with their resilience and with their ability to put Spain back more than others. Les Bleus will be able to get the ball and possess it more than some might expect. But one thing for Spain, they are more clinical in their finishing and that will be the difference.

Spain 2 - France 0.

Unfortunately the 23 game streak will end as it started...with back to back losses.

Allez les Bleus!


Chris B said...

Good analysis GFC, and if Nasri were to come off the bench a la super sub, I think that could be a great move.
Hopefully today being Zizou's 40th we can get some luck and have the type of result we did in Germany back in 2006.
Allez Les Bleus!!!

GFC said...

Good point on Zidane's bday! Maybe a good omen...