Maybe it is the 3 years of French in High School talking, but I love this France team. Four years ago in South Africa, the squad protested and went on strike and stomped their feet like children. It didn’t do much for the reputations of French players. For a squad with plenty of talent to not get to the round of 16 at the very least, this was a complete embarrassment to the people of France, the coaches, and the FFF. Perhaps the results and that squad are why Deschamps has selected the players included and excluded one player.
Sadly for the prostitutes of Brazil, Franc Ribery has been ruled out of the tournament which is a real shame. Obviously, an injury to Ribery is very worrying for Deschamps’ side. The Manager has added Cabella to replace Ribery, and if the opportunity arises, then he can dive and cry with the best of them. With Ribery, I believe France have one of the most balanced sides in the tournament. And without him, Deschamps will have to rearrange his attack. Perhaps it will be an opportunity for Griezmann to shine. He played well in friendly vs Paraguay. He has great speed and does well for Real Sociedad combing with the rest of the forward line.
France’s strengths lie in their attack. Giroud can hold up the ball better than 90% of the other strikers going to Brazil. And he probably won’t start the 2 of the group matches nor the knockout rounds. I suspect Karim Benzema will start most matches with Remy. Remy plays well off of another striker and brings some pace and finishing to the side. I expect Cabaye and Valbuena to provide the creation of the chances for the forward 3. I also am looking forward to see what Paul Pogba can do on this stage. I am not sure he is ready to shine, but I would love to see it.
Although, I highly value France’s attack; the French squad’s greatest strength is their group draw. Switzerland, Honduras, Ecauador and France. Based on history, France seem to be an every other World Cup performer. Well, this is the “on” World Cup and I expect them to get out of their group. On paper this should be fairly easy given the squad France has with or without Ribery. However, CONCACAF watchers know how Honduras plays football. They are full of late challenges, play acting, diving, ref surrounding, etc. Think Mexico but with homely women (that is what the “H” on their kit stands for). Luckily for France, I don’t believe any of their opponents have the squad depth to do anything except fight for 2nd. Let’s assume they finish 1st in the group and face one of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria or Iran. This should set up a quarter-final match vs Germany. And that is likely where their story ends because France cannot defend.
A back line of Evra, Sagna, Koscielny and Sahko seemed really out of sorts during the versus Paraguay. It was just one friendly and maybe Deschamps is searching to find the right combination. A CB pairing of Koscielny and Sahko is all wrong. Koscielny is better than Sahko and played on the left side of defense all year and was one of the best in the Premier League. Sahko was part of a very poor defense that helped let a title slip away from Liverpool. Sahko has been given the armband and is left-footed so I understand why he is there. However, their style of play is too similar. France’s left side of defense will be their weakness. It will be point of attack for most teams. Evra is now a serviceable left back but with Sahko on his side, I expect Sagna and Koscielny will have to cover for the left side’s deficiencies in the first two rounds. And then they be conquered by the Germans (seem familiar?) in the quarterfinal. (will any of the commentators have the balls to say the same thing when it happens?)
Overall, I cannot wait to watch France line up and expect their matches to be some of the most exciting.
Au revior, mes amis
France’s 23-man World Cup squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mickaël Landreau (Bastia)
Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Lucas Digne (PSG) Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (PSGBlaise Matuidi (PSG), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Rémy Cabella (Montpellier)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Loïc Rémy (Newcastle),
Stand-by players: Stéphane Ruffier (Monaco), Loïc Perrin (St Etienne), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Benoît Trémoulinas (Dynamo Kiev), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), , Clément Grenier (Lyon) Injured, Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich)Injured, Missing Person
Written by @ihateyourclub