|Much will be expected of the two French attackers - can they deliver?|
Without the likes of Diaby, Diarra and Mavuba, Deschamps is going to be leaning on a very inexperienced midfield to counter the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso et al. Scary.
Deschamps seems heading towards lining up a 4-3-3, as he did against Japan (my apologies for no post on that match, I was not able to watch and after seeing the stat line could not bring myself to sit through watching the replay only to watch Les Bleus drop the game!). The back line should look familiar:
Lloris the Tottenham #2 in goal
Evra, Kos, Sakho, Debuchy a the back, it will be interesting to see how Kos and Sakho work together. I am a little nervous with Sakho, he can get in trouble at times when he finds himself chasing the game. With the Spanish tic-tac passing, the PSG defender might find himself late on a few challenges....let us hope that does not cost a card, PK or goal!
The midfield will be very interesting, I expect to see Cabaye, Capoue and Matuidi. I look for Deschamps to ask Capoue and Matuidi to defend first and foremost, Cabaye will be given a bit more free reign to carry the play up the pitch, but I am sure that leash will be short as well.
Up front look for a Ribery - Benzema - Menez front three. Much will be expected of these three to carry all of the offense for Les Bleus. What I fear is that with Spain controlling the possession, you will see a Ribery become increasingly frustrated and drop deeper, same with Benzema and a Menez that disappears for long stretches. Since the PSG winger is not likely to drop deep to either recover the ball nor defend!
France have a major mountain to climb, and unfortunately not all their weapons. Then again Spain are missing their two center backs and will most likely drop Busquets to shoulder Ramos as center backs, maybe the one area France might be able to exploit. In the end there is way too much fire power on the side of La Rojas. I do not see the French midfield nor back line keeping up with the pace and precision of the Spanish Armada. Silva, Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc et al will cause fits all night for the back line of France.
Les Bleus will defend well, but have no serious attacking options. I think the game will be very one sided in terms of possession (typical these days against Spain). The French midfield will hold better than expected, but in the end the French will leak goals.
Prediction - Spain 3: France 0. Brace from Silva, late goal from Pedro.
Allez Les Bleus