Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Deschamps turning over his starting line up again - 6 changes?

As it appeared earlier this week, it appears that DD will turn over more than 50% of his starting line up from the one that put up 5 1/2 goals against Switzerland (I give Benzema a 1/2 goal for the one he scored at the end of the game!).

The expected line up -

L’√©quipe probable : Lloris -  Sagna, Koscielny, Sakho, Digne - Pogba, Schneiderlin, Matuidi - Sissoko, Benzema, Griezmann

  • Both full backs will be swapped out with Digne and Sagna getting the nods.
  • 2 changes in the middle three from the ones that started against Switzerland - Pogba back in as a starter and World Cup debut for Schneiderlin.
  • Griezmann back up front...but not Sissoko on the right wing over Valbuena. Interesting. 

Deschamps has always implied that what he likes about Sissoko is the ability of the Newcastle midfielder to play multiple roles - defensive midfielder, wide player and even as a #10 on the pitch. Something to watch, I still see Sissoko as more of a defensive player. Could DD be trying this out to counter some of Ecuador's outside speed? I would have thought that Remy might have been given the start on the right side.

Deschamps is clearly tackling this match as a fait accompli with regards to France's
First taste of the World Cup
qualification to the next round. Which I would agree with. For France to NOT qualify they would have to lose to Ecuador by more than 4 goals and for Switzerland to blitz Honduras. Could happen...very unlikely it will not happen. And it is not as if Deschamps' second options to roll out are chopped liver. It is smart to get some of his bench players some time at the World Cup. I would not have been surprised if he had opted to have Ruffier in net over Lloris. But I have a feeling he wants to ensure his #1 keeper gets time behind the defensive rotation, in case he has to have them in front of him later in the tournament.

If this is the line up that comes onto the pitch tomorrow, it is almost a hybrid 4-4-2 with Sissoko dropping back to form a four man midfield while Griezmann and Benzema act as the two high players. This could be to allow France to absorb pressure from Ecuador and look to hit on the counter. France is almost assured to not only go through but also in the first position in the group, so they can sit back and absorb the pressure. Ecuador is going to look to win this game. They are ahead of Switzerland right now, but they need a result against Les Bleus and hope that Switzerland doesn't. With this potential formation, it appears that DD will roll out a team that can defensively sound, manage the pace of the game and look for Benzema or Griezmann to exploit any counters the French can launch.

I expect Ecuador to start out aggressively, look to find an early goal against the French. If they can somehow spring an early surprise they might be then content to sit back themselves and look to counter through their pacey players. If Les Bleus can weather a potential offensive push early from Ecuador, both teams might sit back and play cautiously until the second half. Depending on what is happening in the other game the pace of the second half might take on a much different look. I also think that Deschamps will want his side to look for a result, keep their positive momentum going. But what he certainly wants to avoid is to create a situation where his defensive gets exposed - and where questions start to arise.

Look for Remy, Mavuba and Giroud to get some time in the second half. Depending on the situation I could see Pogba being taken off for Remy who would slot to the right and allow Sissoko to drop back to the middle three. Mavuba could replace Matuidi and Giroud in for Benzema.

I look for a very cautious first half, but a much more open second (much like many of the other games this week). France keep their momentum going but Ecuador gives them a run for the their money.

France 3 - Ecuador 1

Allez Les Bleus!

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