Heading into the match, there is already some interesting news from the French camp. Deschamps has apparently decided to make some changes to his line up that dominated a weak Honduras side.
- Giroud in, Griezmann out. I am surprised by this move. Not that the Arsenal striker does not deserve a start based on how he was playing in the warm up matches. However I am surprised from a tactical stand point. Assuming that DD rolls out a 4-3-3 with Benzema - Giroud - Valbuena across the top. This could be a very powerful offensive formation - see my previous post about the flexibility in attack this formation gives. The issue is on defense. And this might be even more exposed against the Swiss. The Swiss right flank has some real threats. Shaqiri the right winger and
You want to back track? Or should I?
- No Pogba? The other rumor is that DD will start Sissoko in place of the Juventus midfielder. That is a real surprise to me. I thought if anyone in the midfield that started against Honduras would sit it would be Cabaye due to the knock he picked up. One argument is that Pogba was targeted for some extra attention against Honduras, could have gotten red carded and did pick up a yellow card. If that is the reason I am a little disappointing. Pogba plays his club football at one of the world's largest clubs in a very physical league - Italy. He is targeted because he is so good and influential on play. I am not arguing that we should use the World Cup to prepare Pogba for such treatment, but come on...he is a professional. Trust him that he can contain his emotions. If we would sit players because of their temperament then how did the likes of Zidane, Keane, Cantona etc ever get to play? Hopefully this is simply a rumor. Pogba's talents are too good to leave on the bench for fear he gets a yellow card...
Also look how the French midfield operates if they have Sissoko rather than Pogba. The Newcastle midfielder provides some different options for France but he isn't like Pogba - a box to box midfielder that can control the midfield.
This is a big match for Les Bleus. There is much euphoria over their 3-0 win over Honduras. Which might be fools' gold - Honduras were down a player all second half, something to keep in mind when looking at the final statistics for the game. France will be facing a nation that is ranked in the top ten, if you take any value in those rankings....I don't take too much value from them! But the Swiss have some real talent in their ranks - the aforementioned Shaqiri and Lichsteiner, as well as the likes of Xhaka, Drmic and Inler. They are also managed by a wily managing veteran - Hitzfeld.
I look for a cautious match by European neighbors. France go up 1-0 mid second half from a Giroud strike, but conceded late. France 1 - Switzerland 1.
Allez les Bleus!