Saturday, June 21, 2014

Les Bleus - pump the brakes a bit after great showing against Switzerland

Group E
#
Country
GP
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
1
2
2
0
0
8
2
6
6
2
2
1
0
1
3
3
0
3
3
2
1
0
1
4
6
-2
3
4
2
0
0
2
1
5
-4
0

These are the standings of Group E after day #2 of the group matches. The euphoria of the majestic 5-2 win for Les Bleus over Switzerland is still palpable. Some press are even putting France into the category of potential winners. I am not ready to go there.

France are not even qualified for the knock out round. Every team in Group E are mathematically still alive for the knock out rounds. However for France to make it would take a monumental collapse that not even the Red Sox of French football team could find a way of making happen. France would have to lose to Ecuador and the Swiss would have to make up the 8 goal differential. A monumental collapse no doubt.

So let us assume the France go through and most likely in first place. Meaning they will miss facing the Argentinians in the next round. But France and DD face some interesting questions with regards to how they should approach Ecuador. In the World Cup you need to keep an eye on the knock out stages at this point. Deschamps has two players on yellow cards - Pogba and Evra. Neither of which DD would want to lose for the knock out rounds. But there is a wrinkle to that, more on that later.

DD also has to deal with a Sakho that might not be 100% fit. As well as Cabaye that is not able to play in the game - that might not be a bad thing since he will start the knock outs yellow card free.

Deschamps should look at the Ecuador match as a half World Cup half friendly, I realize that might sound arrogant but France need to think about the next rounds. They need a win or draw against Ecuador to ensure they get through, but as I stated even a loss allows them through as long as the 8 goal differential isn't overturned. Here are some thoughts:

Ready to start in place of Cabaye?
  • Keep the trio of Benzema, Giroud and Valbuena in the starting line up. It has been a pleasant surprise the two times it has been rolled out. An 8-0 and 5-2 wins against Jamaica and Switzerland. I certainly do not expect such a goal deluge each time this line up rolls out there, but it seems to have some real teeth to it. The question becomes will it have success if and when it faces the metal of international football? Now is the time to get it some time.
  • Look for Mavuba in the place of Cabaye. That seems to be DD's choice of like for like substitution. The Lille captain will be a solid replacement for the PSG midfielder. I am not sure that Mavuba can replicate the passing accuracy of Cabaye. But he can certainly more than replicate the defensive efforts.
  • Kos or Mangala to shoulder Varane? Based on the substitution patterns it would appear the Arsenal man will get the nod. Even if Sakho is healthy enough to play I might not want to risk further injury if it can be avoided. Some have pointed out that the second Swiss goal came off the back of Kos, but if Debuchy had done his job the play would have been off side and no harm would have been suffered. I think Kos is more than capable of playing along side Varane in the back.
  • What to do with the yellow carded players? As I mentioned both Pogba and Evra are on a yellow. In a way, I bet deep down inside DD might have hoped that both had picked up yellows yesterday. Against Ecuador I am not sure Deschamps would have been too nervous having to start Digne at left back and not having Pogba available. I am not so sure he feels the same if he has to start Digne against say Bosnia or....Germany. How might that happen you ask? Let's say Evra plays against Ecuador and does not get a yellow, he will still be sitting on his yellow from the Honduras game in the first round of knock outs. Imagine France plays Bosnia, which is a physical team to play. A game where cards might be flying fast and furious. As a defender he has a strong likelihood of potentially getting another card...he would then miss, assuming France get through, the 1/4 finals. Which could very well be against...Germany. Who have Gotze and Ozil as wide players. You see the potential danger! I might be over thinking this, but DD needs to think and look ahead.
  • With this in mind, even if Evra plays, I would expect Digne to get in a good 30
    Would be very different against the senior squad
    minutes
    of time on the field - as long as the game allows it. Get the PSG left back some game time at the World Cup, in case he is needed later due to the yellow cards. A player like Schneiderlin might also get some run to provide cover for a Pogba and the other midfielders.
France and Deschamps can go into the Ecuador match a little more at ease than might have been hoped 2 weeks ago. Of course they cannot take anything for granted, but even with a number of bench players in the starting line up France should be more than competitive against Ecuador. I certainly do not expect 5 goals, but a result is well within reach.

Keep an eye on the Sakho injury this week as well as how Deschamps manages his yellow card players.

Allez les Bleus.

5 comments:

HHKB Chris said...

I'm intrigued to see what DD does, I was surprised to see Giroud on Friday; but at this point, "In DD I trust!"
Hopefully Les Bleus focus up, work on their set pieces some more and continue to play the beautiful style of play we've seen over two games.
Allez!

Anonymous said...

This france team is grt.awesome.. i think all credits goes to Deshchamps. he is winning man....but i have find some wrong thing in this team...

1. Giroud is not happy ..i think he has not good relation with Benzama

2. 2nd round and 1/4 match will play at 2.00 pm local time.it will be hot day. france team may b suffer.

3. Pogba is very young...this reason he can easily con-sided red card if opponent target him. ..like 1998 bekham and 2006 roony. France need him but i have he can realize it.

4. france did not have good penalty taker...like zidan wiltord blanc durequef....

thanks

Lekarlokin

GFC said...

I totally agree about the penalty taking. One aspect of Ribery's game that is over looked is his ability to take PKs. Something to look out for moving forward.

As for Giroud and Benzema, I disagree, I think the two are starting to work well together especially with Benzema almost playing like a true #10 and looking to dictate the pace of play and dropping deeper.

It will be interesting to see this week what DD does in training.

Philip said...

Loving this cup so far my teams france and belgium doing good. Keep it up guys!

GFC said...

Overall this has been the best World Cup I have watched. Might be the best international tournament since the 1984 European Cup. Lots of drama, late goals etc.

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