Monday, June 30, 2014

France head into Nigeria game with serious question marks

Surprise surprise, Sakho might not be ready to go for the Nigeria match. Again...I call into question DD's decision to play the Liverpool man against Ecuador. Maybe he would still have been out for this match, but I have a feeling more rest would have been helpful. Now Deschamps approaches the knock out stage without his first choice central defender.

It would appear that Koscielny will partner with Varane in central defense. I will admit this pairing makes me a tad nervous. Not sure Kos has the athletic ability to keep up with some of the Super Eagles' strikers. Just look at Musa carving up the Argentine defense in their final group game. This will be something to watch for in the match.

Second thing to look for is how does the midfield do, especially Pogba who has been receiving some scrutiny lately about his temperament. The Juventus man is also victim to lofty expectations that were set from having such a wonderful domestic season. Latest report is that Pogba is in the starting line. I am not sure the criticism of Pogba have been fair. Other than a silly gesture against Honduras, Pogba has been playing well. To his lofty level? No. But that talent is hard not to have on the pitch.

Cause for celebration?
Finally what to do up front? Griezmann or Giroud? Clearly Valbuena and Benzema will start, but who to play that left wing?? Seems like it might be Giroud in the middle with Benzema on the left. I do like this formation, much more offensive and as we saw against Switzerland, lethal on the counter. Does DD hope he can catch lightening in a bottle again and see this
formation strike early?

There are some questions heading into the Nigeria game. I will be very curious to see what the actual team sheet looks like. The Super Eagles have every right to believe they can beat Les Bleus. They already did so last time they played...in France! They have some pacey players that can cause the French defense some serious problems. On the flip side the Nigerian defense can be leaky as well. However, they do have the x-factor - their keeper, Enyeama. Who had an amazing 1,062 minutes without conceding a goal in Ligue 1 for Lille this season. Much like Ochoa for Mexico, this quality of a back stop can be a real difference maker. Something to watch for.

Regardless I am not ready to look past the Super Eagles. Was France's victory against Switzerland fools gold? Let us see who DD rolls out tomorrow!

Allez les bleus!


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