June 23, 2010
I didn't think France could do any worse than their disastrous performance during Euro 2008. But when it comes to defying expectations - or the lack thereof - no one does it better than Domenech and his crew.
The match against South Africa will probably go down as the lowest moment in the history of Les Bleus. Though France have had worse games and even worse tournaments (in 1994 they didn't even qualify for the World Cup), as tragedies go, yesterday takes the cake.
June 17, 2010
Lately, all that seems to be in the news is Yoann Gourcuff’s social tribulations. His teammates don’t like him, won’t pass to him, refuse to eat with him, and won’t partner with him during Playstation hour. The reason? It’s supposedly because he looks like an underwear model, he’s the darling of the media, the fans want to sleep with him (without getting paid for it), he comes from a wealthy background, and he’s too nice of a guy to stand up for himself. All this is enough to make me think that the French National Team is putting on a production of Mean Girls.
June 13, 2010
Let me preface this post by stating that I am a Les Bleus supporter from the bottom of my heart. I love my team even when they play the most boring football on the planet. So please understand how much it hurts me to say after watching yesterday's match against Uruguay, I could only ask myself one thing.
Did I really wait four years for this?
This is the World Cup, after all, so I suppose my answer should be yes. But I can't help thinking that yesterday's game was no different than so many other France matches from the past few years. I know that some disagree with my sentiments, but I did not enjoy the match (though the possibility of Henry scoring from a handball at any moment had me glued to the edge of my seat).
June 10, 2010
Despite having a month to prepare for the World Cup, France are still pretty much clueless. Everything from the captaincy (is this really something that should be changed right before the biggest tournament ever?) to the starting lineup is marked with uncertainty. All we really know for sure is that come Friday, Domenech will still have a unibrow and Franck Ribery will be somewhere on the pitch.
That's about it though. I wish I were kidding, but when it comes to Les Bleus, stability is a foreign concept these days.
June 6, 2010
France defender Eric Abidal admits he has yet to gel completely in the centre of the back four with William Gallas, with just five days to go until Les Bleus open their World Cup campaign against Uruguay.
Raymond Domenech's side have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their World Cup warm-up games, conceding a goal in each of their matches against Costa Rica, Tunisia and China.
May 17, 2010
As promised, six players were dropped from the initial list submitted to FIFA last week. The remaining 24 players will be heading to Tignes for a training camp as well as participating against two friendlies. At the end of May, one more player will be dropped - either William Gallas or whoever will be replacing him.
The final list:
May 16, 2010
The day that most French fans have been waiting for has finally arrived. The France Football Federation (FFF) have named Laurent Blanc as the next manager of the French national team, though his tenure will not begin until after the World Cup. The FFF will confirm this decision in the upcoming week when they've had their general meeting.
It's not exactly a surprise. Blanc himself has been evasive on this matter since last winter, and the poor end to Bordeaux's season only affirmed the fact that he wouldn't be around Stade Chaban-Delmas next season. And then Didier Deschamps spilled the beans a few days ago when he announced that it was a "done deal." But nothing was ever official, so no one could be quite sure...
...Until today. However, like everything else involving the FFF, the timing of this announcement is completely off.
May 13, 2010
Now that I've had a day or so to digest Raymond Domenech's provisional squad of 30 players, I can now post my thoughts in a coherent manner.
Before his roster when public, Domenech announced that he wouldn't bother naming a provisional squad and would instead post his final 23 choices for the World Cup. However, FIFA regulations forced him to do otherwise, so he grudgingly added another seven names to his roster. However, he's made it clear that he’s already decided which seven players will not make the cut and will inform them before May 18th.
May 12, 2010
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira have been omitted from France's 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup in South Africa.
Vieira returned to the Premier League from Inter Milan in January and recovered some of his form, but not enough to impress Les Bleus coach Raymond Domenech.
Former France skipper Vieira, who earned the most recent of his 107 caps in June 2009, accepted his omission with dignity.
"It's a decision I accept, although I'm disappointed," Vieira told Canal+ Sport. "I do not question his choice, I really respect.''
Benzema, who has had a less than fruitful season with Madrid, has also missed out on selection for the squad, as has midfielder Samir Nasri, whose Arsenal team-mates Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Abou Diaby and Bacary Sagna are included.
Franck Ribery, who is sweating over his participation in Bayern Munich's Champions League final with Inter on May 22 with the Bundesliga champions appealing his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, is included.
Three members of Marseille's Ligue 1-winning squad - goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and forwards Hatem Ben Arfa and Mathieu Valbuena - are named, as are two Chelsea players, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda.
France were drawn in Group A alongside hosts South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay, their opponents in their first game in Cape Town on June 11.
France's provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Adil Rami (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).