Saturday, November 16, 2013


What else can you say about that showing. Hats off to the Ukraine who shut down Ribery and looked the better side. I am still stunned by the outcome.

The reality is I should not be. France's last two showings against Australia and Finland were fool's gold.  Yes they opened up the flood gates on the goal scoring, but I should have know that what was a better indicator of this team's status was the horrible 0-0 draw away to Georgia when France had to win in order to keep pace with Spain. The same can be said about most of the game against Belarus, where France allowed 2 soft goals in and had to claw back to win the game 4-2.

Les Bleus have a fundamental malaise. A rot at the core of the team. I have finally come around to realizing that the future does not lie with the likes of Nasri, Benzema or even...gasp....Ribery. Wonderfully gifted individual players, but players that do seem to worry more about the night club they will be visiting or the individual awards they might be in line for, as opposed to the overall team.

Ribery was a great complimentary player when he burst one the scene with France in 2006. But he came into a very mature team, led by the likes of Vieira, Henry, Trezeguet, Thuram
Better days for Ribery and Les Bleus
and a certain Zidane. All players that had won the World Cup and European Cup, but also players that had a maturity about them that has been lacking recently. Maybe that is why Deschamps insists on keeping Abidal in the starting line up, as one of the last links to 2006. While Ribery has been a better citizen for France recently, he is still carrying the stench of what happened in South Africa. Same as Evra. A player who has done nothing about his image recently after going on a verbal tirade where he decided to "settle some scores."

France are at the edge of the precipice...they are looking down into the darkness one where they will drop in the FIFA rankings, thereby making it more difficult to qualify for major tournaments...which will then make it harder to uplifted their rankings...and so the circular spin into the abyss continues. Short of a miracle in Paris in 4 days, there might be some difficult times ahead. The saving grace is that France are hosting the next European Cup - so they do not need to worry about qualifying, will get a head of group seeding, playing at home and might just get past the group stages!

Not heading to Brazil will not be easy to take, but at the end of the day it might be better for the federation. A shock to the system to clean house and reassess what France needs. Same thing happened after the disaster of qualifying for the the 1994 World Cup where France moved away from the talents of Cantona, Ginola and Papin ... and built around a certain Zidane. Now I do not think there is another singular talent like Zizou on the horizon, but there are some players France can build around. More on that in another post.

I still hold out hope that France finds a way to win 3-0 and go to Brazil, but my head tells me this time does not have the internal fortitude to do this. Do they have the talent? Absolutely. Do they have the

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