- France finish first in the group - The qualification for Les Bleus into the knock out rounds was all but a formality. Mathematically France was still at risk for not qualifying, but they would have had to lose by at least 5 goals. Clearly neither team thought 5 goals would be scored combined by both teams. I don't think it can be over emphasized how important it is that France not only qualify out of their group but finish first. After what this team did to itself 4 years ago, this can only be regarded as positive.
- All the French players are available - Phew...no one got hurt...and that was not a guarantee after some of the tackles the Ecuadorian players were dishing out. I got a real scare when Matuidi took a heavy tackle that did not look good on his knee or Digne who's leg was used as a scratching post for Valencia's studs. With Evra sitting and Pogba not picking up another yellow card they will be both be available for Monday's game against Nigeria.
- The Ecuadorian keeper Dominguez was absolutely huge. Granted France's players
Big saves from the big man
- The only French player that kept his game at a high level - Matuidi. He is the engine for Les Bleus. Found himself on his favorite left foot early on in the game but could not find the back of the net as he had against Switzerland. His clash early on in the game was one that made me hold my breath, even more so when they replayed it in super slow motion. Otherwise he seemed to be the only player who showed up, well other than Lloris. The PSG midfielder is clearly the engine room for Les Bleus.
- I have to give some good to Sagna as well. I have been critical of the former Arsenal back and the fact I think his crossing is putrid. However, in this game he defended well and had a few nice crosses that should have been better handled by the strikers. Then again maybe the strikers were shocked by the quality of service!
- The effort from France was bad....very bad. I realize that Les Bleus were all but qualified heading into the game. But the effort demonstrated was barely one you would expect from a late season friendly. Of course this is not a blanket statement for the entire team. By no means am I saying this looked like some of the efforts the squad has shown in prior tournaments - see all matches in 2010 or some from the Euro 2012. I am not as concerned about this as I might have been in the past. Hey they didn't lose!
- I have to call out Deschamps here as well. There were some head scratching moves he made prior and then during the game. I am well aware that I am nitpicking. First I am curious as to why a player that came out of the last game due to injury, got a start in a game that wasn't vital to the cause. Sakho, had to leave the Switzerland game with a strain in his leg. Yet he started this game...and had to be taken out again in the
All is well!
- Schneiderlin looked a little overwhelmed. Understandable for someone getting his first start at a World Cup...he never seemed to get into the flow of the game. Then again there never seemed to be a flow to the game regardless. It is also a daunting task since he is in the slot usually held by Cabaye. I don't think we will see the Southampton midfielder again this World Cup, but someone to keep an eye on as France heads towards the Euros.
- Benzema and his "finishing": After basking in the glow of his first two World Cup games, he clearly decided to take this one off. He was timid in the air, didn't attack the ball and his finishing touch was...well abysmal. He looked like the striker that went over 1000 minutes without scoring a goal. Now I am not going to make too much out of this, much like the rest of the team it felt as if he was going through the motions. But it was UGLY.
- Ecuadorian thugs...clearly the South Americans thought they had to try and maul the
How does my foot taste?
Allez les Bleus!