Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nothing to see here...carry on - France v Uruguay ends in a drab draw

First game down for new manager Deschamps...nothing gained nothing lost. France v Uruguay ends in a 0-0 draw. France had the most clear chances, but lacked a certain efficiency in front of goal. Not too much to take from the game, but here are some thoughts:

The Good:
Bright future for the TFC midfielder?
  • Ribery looked lively and was a real creative threat. There was a move in the first half where he was caught between three defenders some how pivoted off the first defender and tapped a perfect pass through the legs of the other defender while the third player was trying to find his jock. He stayed on his preferred left side but did float around the pitch appearing in the center and on the right. Let us hope that the Kaiser keeps this form, France will need him to get through qualifications.
  • The new kids - Mbiwa and Capoue - demonstrated some real interesting elements. The first was calm and cool for his first cap, considering the role he plays that is impressive. He made some very cool tackles around the 18 yard box that demonstrated a level of talent and a coolness under pressure necessary for the role. He was unfortunate to not open his goal count as well, calling for a fantastic finger tip save from Muslera. Something to keep an eye on. The TFC midfielder came on in the second half and I was struck by his dominating size but also his fluid play - dare I say a "box to box" midfielder a la Vieira??? Okay this might be a stretch, right now. Not sure if Capoue will have the offensive ability that the former Gunner had, but again something to watch in the upcoming France matches.
The Bad:
  • What to do with the strikers? There is much debate on how to get Benzema to play like he does for Real Madrid...or even how he played in the past for France. There was very little connection between Benzema and Giroud. However, Benzema, as we suspected, could not help but drop deep on the pitch. At least with Giroud on the field the Uruguay central defense had to respect this threat. Unfortunately, like what happened in the Euros, Benzema did a lot of work, but for few results. Frustrating.
  • Midfield linking players...or lack thereof. Not having Cabaye in the midfield was apparent. With Gonalons and Mavuba there was a lack of link between defense and attack. Something that we knew was a concern heading into the game. I realize this pairing was not necessarily one Deschamps will look to lean on, but it also emphasises how important the play of Cabaye is for France.
The Ugly:
  •  Finishing anyone? Anyone? Sigh, I think we were spoiled when we had the likes of Henry and Trezeguet patrolling the pitch with Zizou feeding them the ball...France has yet to really find players of that finishing level. I realize these types of players do not grow on trees. But Benzema clearly has the talent to put more goals in for France. Les Bleus need to get some results from all the chances they are creating for themselves!

Overall a typical first international match of the season, cautious, lack of real extended flow, some bright spots ... but otherwise forgetable. Deschamps will have some things to think about, but there is also much work ahead for Les Bleus!

Allez les bleus!

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