Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ouch...Les Bleus streak of qualification in serious jeopardy

After having to play in a qualifying group that included Spain, France had to also have a miraculous reversal after dropping a 0-2 playoff game away to Ukraine, to get into the World Cup in Brazil. Looks like the next round of qualifiers for the World Cup in 2018 in Russia will be even tougher for Les Bleus. Since France feel to the second pot they knew they risked drawing a big fish as head of group...which they were served by getting the Oranje of Holland. To make things even more tasty, the French will also have to face off against Zlatan's Sweden...toss in Bulgaria and you have some serious hurdles that France will have to overcome to get to Russia.

The group A teams:

Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

France's schedule:

6 septembre 2016: Biélorussie-France

7 octobre 2016: France-Bulgarie

10 octobre 2016: Pays-Bas-France

13 novembre 2016: France-Suède

25 mars 2017: Luxembourg-France

9 juin 2017: Suède-France

31 août 2017: France-Pays-Bas

3 septembre 2017: France-Luxembourg

7 octobre 2017: Bulgarie-France

10 octobre 2017: France-Biélorussie
The only positive aspect is that France get to face one of the weakest nations in the group first, get tested against Bulgaria before having to take on Holland. But there is very little else that is positive with this draw! It will be a tight race for head of the group, and second place will be a real dog fight. Luxembourg and Belarus will probably have no hope about sniffing qualification, but Belarus will act as spoiler. Bulgaria and France will most likely fight it out with whoever drops from the Holland - Sweden tandem for second place. Not a great group for France....Much will be expected from what happens next summer during the Euros. Can Les Bleus find their form? How will they fare being at home? And will any success...assuming they find some....carry over into the qualifiers? Lots of questions and lots of gaps that Deschamps must resolve not only for next summer but for beyond.
This is what you get when you under-perform for years...ugh. 

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