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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Group A - France

NICKNAME – Les Bleus / L’equipe tricolore

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

France finished 2nd in their group behind Serbia just to make into the World Cup Finals through the most controversial and fashionable way in the Play-offs against Ireland with Va Va Voom Henry’s Hand of God twice control crossing to Gallas to score the winning goal. No disciplinary action taken against France despite Republic of Ireland lodging a formal complaint asking to replay the match that Sepp Blatter declined.

H2H

Jun 11 Cape Town Uruguay v France - Uruguay have not lost in their last 2 matches against France. Overall they have won once each other and drew twice. France has scored 3 times against South American fellows that scored twice. How interesting will be this match!

Jun 17 Polokwane France v Mexico - Mexico lost 5 games against France and drew only 1 ( 15-4 Goals Scored ) France Scored 4 goals in each of their last 3 encounters with Mexico.

Jun 22 Bloemfontein France v South Africa – Remember the World Cup in France in 1998? Oh well, that was the last time that South Africa played Les Bleus and lost 3-0. Other than that they have lost another game and tied one. France lead 5 goals against 1 scored by South Africa.

Raymond Domenech named:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille), Cédric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux)

Defenders: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), William Gallas (Arsenal), Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Sébastien Squillaci (Sevilla), Marc Planus (Girondins Bordeaux), Gaël Clichy (Arsenal), Anthony Reveillère (Olympique Lyon)

Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Girondins Bordeaux), Jérémy Toulalan (Olympique Lyon), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Yoann Gourcuff (Girondins Bordeaux), Abou Diaby (Arsenal)

Forwards: Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), André-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich), Sidney Govou (Olympique Lyon), Djibril Cissé (Panathinaikos), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)

FORMATION

Domenech operates often under a 4-4-2 formation with most likely line-up to be Lloris; Abidal, Sagna, Gallas ,Evra; Diarra, Toulalan, Malouda; Ribery, Henry & Anelka.

BEST PLAYERS

Thierry Henry the new captain having made an infamous career at Arsenal before joining Barcelona and fail to produce the same level even though achieved a lot during his time at the Catalans. Va va Voom uses his pace to undermine opponents.

Gallas even though has spend part of the season injured has been called-up to patrol the French defense. Gallas having made impact in Marseille and Chelsea before he headed to rivals Arsenal to captain the team and to armor their defensive approach.

Franck Ribery, the all-or-nothing player. On one side he is very talented playing and on the other side his mental strength plays down his high-profiled status due to his behavior. Had a problem back with Galatasaray when transferred to Marseille and nowadays the struggle is between Bayern Munchen and major European clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea among others that want to secure his prolific services.

Anelka is another golden player that is overshadowed by his conduct off the field. Having played for Paris Saint Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbahce, Bolton and nowadays with Chelsea, he has been the most expensive player overall with an aggregate transfer cost of 135€ million.

SURPRISE

The surprise omissions are Nasri from Arsenal; Benzema from Real Madrid and Patrick Vieira from Manchester City.

STATEMENTS

"The objective was to qualify. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I never had any doubts. We’ve had difficulties for two years now, but everyone kept believing and they were justified in doing so. We grabbed hold of the right to take part in something exceptional – a World Cup in South Africa.”Raymond Domenech, France coach

- RAYMOND DOMENECH –

1 World Cup Quarter-Final 2006; 1 Group Stage Appearance UEFA European Championships 2008; Champion in 2nd division with Olympique Lyon.

Career made of 445 matches with 47% Win, 28% Draw, 26% Loss, GS 1,39 GA 0,93

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength – A Team compiled of high profiled players that were all present in the knockout stages and most of them even in the quarter finals of this season Champions League.

The plus of having reached their biggest achievements in the last 12 years so this will mean a champion will always be a champion.

The French fast attacking line against not so imperial defenses.

Weaknesses – Raymond Domenech that often is seen as being substituted by Laurent Blanc, but that is yet to happen. He does not bring balance to an already ego’s disproportional team that has never recovered fully after losing their most successful players such as Zidane, Petit, Barthez, Vieira, Djorkaeff, Trezeguet, Blanc, Thuram, Deschamps, Desailly.

Opportunities – Their group is the easiest just behind England’s Group C. Even though in the Euro 2008 wasn’t the easiest group they haven’t delivered a single winning match which is awful for a nation full of pride of having recently conquered the most significant nation’s trophies.

The chance for Ribery, Gourcuff, Malouda & Lloris to shine on this World Cup, but that is on the paper and in potential. They must turn it into reality.

Threats – Uruguay’s attack; Javier Aguirre prolific coaching skills and being inside of a group that belongs to a all-time qualified host (yet we are to know if South Africa can deliver, but Korea has done that in 2002 and no one was expecting)

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

France closes the top 10 in the last position behind of a non-participating world cup Croatia, but still ahead of Russia and previous European Champion Greece.

ACHIEVEMENTS

1 World Cup 1998;

2 Confederations Cup 2001, 2003,

2 European Championships 1984, 2000

CASTROL INDEX

Even though they haven’t made anything brilliant since winning the world cup in 1998, Castrol index indicates a 59% chance of France advancing to the knockout stages with a 28,7% percentage of finishing 2nd just behind Uruguay.


WORLD CUP RECORDS

Fewest goals conceded, champions

2, France, 1998

Worst performance by a defending champion

1 draw, 2 losses and 0 goals scored, France, 2002

Most goals scored in a tournament

13, Just Fontaine ( France), 1958.

Most goals scored in all Final matches

3 Goals Zinedine Zidane ( France, 2 vs Brazil in 1998 & 1 vs Italy in 2006)

Most consecutive matches with at least one goal

6, Just Fontaine ( France, 1958)

Most hat-tricks

2, Just Fontaine ( France, 1958)

Scoring in every match of a World Cup

Just Fontaine ( France), 13 goals in 6 matches (1958)

Most individual goalscorers for one team, one tournament

10, France, 1982 (Gérard Soler, Bernard Genghini, Michel Platini, Didier Six, Maxime Bossis, Alain Giresse, Dominique Rocheteau, Marius Trésor, René Girard, Alain Couriol)

Most cards (all-time, player)

6, Zinedine Zidane ( France, 1998–2006)

Most sendings off (all-time, player)

2, Zinedine Zidane ( France, 1998 and 2006).

Top scoring teams by tournament

1958 – France (23)

1982 – France (16)

1998 – France (15)

LATEST MATCHES

France 1 1 Tunisia

France 0 1 China


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