Monday, June 30, 2014

Giroud and Pogba back in line up - hunting for goals

It appears that Deschamps will roll out Pogba and Giroud in his starting line up at the expense of Sissoko and Griezmann. Very interesting. This would be an indication that Les Bleus will be looking very offensively minded. I like this formation from an offensive perspective, but there remains questions with regards to defending, especially on that left side with Benzema.

The line up - Lloris - Evra, Koscielny, Varane, Debuchy - Cabaye, Matuidi, Pogba - Benzema, Giroud, Valbuena

We all know what this line up did (swap out Pogba for Sissoko) against Switzerland. But that game's pace was dictated by the quick two goals scored by Les Bleus. That is not
You are a little heavier than Valbuena to carry around
something you can count on facing the Super Eagles. France will most likely have to play a match similar to all the other knock out round games - caution from both sides and the team to score first goes back into a shell to defend the lead. As I mentioned in my earlier post, Enyeama will be the x-factor for Nigeria. The Lille keeper is quietly one of the best in the world. Can the French attack break him down? I think they will be able to, but they need to hit crosses early and often into the area. Look for Giroud to knock down these crosses for Benzema and the midfielders making runs. Benzema will also need to be clinical with his finishing, his form against Ecuador will not work in this game. From the flip side, will the likes of Evra be able to slow down and contain the speed from a Musa coming in from the wing? Evra is also on a yellow...might this make him more cautious in his defending? Look for Matuidi to shadow that side a bit more to help with Musa. Cabaye will also be key. It has been overlooked in the Ecuador match that the PSG midfielder was not on the pitch (neither was Valbuena). While Le Petit Velo is clearly the offensive metronome for France, Cabaye's ability to cut down offensive forays by the opposition and more importantly be the launching pad with his surgical passing is vital for the French. The x-factor for France might be how Pogba plays. He gave some glimpses of his talent but he has also disappeared at times. Which Pogba do we see today? Remember - he is also on a yellow - something to watch for.

This game is by no means easy for either team. Nigeria was not overwhelming in their group matches, but they did what they had to. They are now playing with house money and many are touting France as a new team, one that can actually contend challenging for a ...gulp....title.  I am not as optimistic. I still think Les Bleus will emerge victorious from this match. But it will be a nail biter.

France 3 - Nigeria 1. Late goal from France make the score line more flattering.

Allez les Bleus!


Philip said...

Wow I aged 5years. Nigeria were the better team for the first 75min. France a little lucky especially with a no red card . Griezman might need to start next game I feel good playing the germans

GFC said...

Totally agree - Nigeria looked the more likely to score until the last 20 minutes of the game. But footy games are 90 minutes! France dominated the last 20 minutes, and if it were not for some great saves from Enyeama the score line could have been heavier in France's favor.

I think Griezmann will start against the Germans. Look for DD to roll out a more traditional alignment in his 4-3-3