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Posted by Rabeeta Farooque on 05/16/2010

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.

For most, this decision should have been announced months if not years ago (the aftermath of Euro 2008 springs to mind). But the FFF chose to retain their confidence in Domenech and would not entertain the possibility of replacing him. So their decision to announce Blanc's appointment now, while Domenech is preparing for the World Cup, is simply baffling.

Undoubtedly, Domenech was aware that the FFF would not extend his contract after the tournament. Barring France winning the World Cup (which seems an unlikely prospect even to the most optimistic of fans), there is little Domenech can do to silence his growing army of detractors. But expecting it is not the same as having it thrown in his face while he's still in charge. It's classless and needlessly cruel of the FFF, and it may end up being a big mistake because Les Bleus cannot afford any more blows to their confidence.

I point this out because while Domenech is a hated figure among fans, other managers, and exiled international players (I'm looking at you, Robert Pires), his relationship with his current squad is surprisingly good. Most of his players like him, and they appreciate that he deflects media criticism off of them with his own outrageous comments. The FFF's handling of this matter has annoyed mainstays like Thierry Henry and Jeremy Toulalan, and no doubt more players will express their unhappiness in the coming days.

But being liked by his players can't be the only reason to keep him in charge, and sadly, the NT's performances under Domenech's tenure have been extremely lackluster. While France can never play the attractive brand of football that Spain or Brazil employ (France simply don't have the same kinds of players), their inability to play dominant football is the problem. Too many times, France either wins by the skin of their teeth or barely manages a draw, even when playing against smaller and less skilled opponents.

The other great unhappiness is Domenech's player selections. While there will always be someone left out (it's bound to happen when a nation has so many gifted players that deserve to wear the France jersey), his stubborn dependence on defensive midfielders and his overly cautious approach in attack have made France one of the most boring teams to watch. I myself can't remember the last time France dazzled me on the pitch. And I've been watching them consistently for the last four years.

Which is why this move by the FFF has been expected for awhile now. Blanc's success as both a player and a manager, his happy history as part of the national team, and the simple fact that he's not Domenech made him an ideal candidate for the post. Indeed, this news is the first ray of light that fans of Les Bleus have had in a long time. And while it may have come too late for the upcoming World Cup...well, it's nice to dream about the next one, right?


Posted by Bernie on 05/17/2010

In my opinion, I don't think it'll affect the team so much. They surely must know that there is no chance of Domenech getting a contract extension.
As for France's World Cup chances, I think they have a better chance of winning it than Argentina. Heck, if they meet I'd bet 100 euros that France win (and they might just meet). France could be looking at Semi final appearance if they raise their game for the tournament.

Posted by Big daddy on 05/17/2010

The team is in transition phase. it is lacking great leader and yong team. this team is aging and announcing the new manager before the world cup will help him ramp up, gain some experience by observing the group during the preparation and the event. I do not think it is a bad call and it also stop all the post cup distractions short so the team can re-focus quickly on the european cup qualification starting in September. Overall, I think it is a good strategy for a team with a lot of young talents ready to mature under new leadership.

Posted by Big daddy on 05/17/2010

The team is in transition phase. it is lacking great leader and yong team. this team is aging and announcing the new manager before the world cup will help him ramp up, gain some experience by observing the group during the preparation and the event. I do not think it is a bad call and it also stop all the post cup distractions short so the team can re-focus quickly on the european cup qualification starting in September. Overall, I think it is a good strategy for a team with a lot of young talents ready to mature under new leadership.

Posted by Steve on 05/17/2010

I agree with you, Rabeeta. France never gets these things right. Domenech should have been replaced right after the Euro train wreck. I have been following the French national team from the moment as a kid when I first saw Zidane, and if not for him, France would still be the world's greatest underachievers. It boggles my mind how a nation that can pick from so many talented footballers from all over the world can so consistently underwhelm.

Posted by Gilles on 05/17/2010

I quite disagree with Steve on the "so consistently underwhelm" bit:
I have been following Les Bleus since the great 1982 side (I was 8) where we were robbed of a World Cup Final (to all Irish fan btw, it happens to us ALL, the French also had to suffer heartache, you will get over it one day ;) )
Let's see France's results over the last 30 years:
2 WC semi-finals (82, 86)
2 WC Finals (won in 98, lost in 06)
2 European Nations Cup (84,00)
Compare that to say England, Holland or Spain PUT TOGETHER and see how well we have fared. Sure the last 4 years have been nothing short of a disaster, I give you that.
As for Rabeeta's memory, I think the last time France really shone was when we gave Spain and Brazil a footballing lesson in the last WC, we struggled against Portugal but we dominated the final against Italy and we would have won it if it wasn't for Buffon. Seems like millions years ago, how things have changed. Raymond hasn't a Zidane to save his skin this time.....

Posted by Gilles on 05/17/2010

As for the timing of the announcement it doesn't bother me one bit. I was so desperate to hear it, and even more desperate to hear Blanc's name (he and Deschamps were the best potential candidates imo) that I am happy anyway. As much as I love my national team, I am not holding my breath for the WC, I'd be happy with a 1/4 final, I can't see us go any further with such a clueless manager at the helm. I just want to avoid the humiliation of 2002 tbh. And then we can start from scratch come september and hopefully get a new lease of life, a real game plan and some ambition. Remember how Blanc got the best out of Gourcuff at Bordeaux, he is such a brilliant playmaker when on song, a French number 10 a la Zidane or Platini, I hope we build a team around him.
Still, even with Domenech at the WC, allez les Bleus, pour toujours et a jamais! ;)

Posted by AlexR on 05/17/2010

I am sorry but you are misinformed. This announcement has been planned and expected for a long time. It has been known for a while that:
-Domenech will leave his role right after the WC
-His successor will be announced BEFORE the WC
If you think about it, announcing the successor before the WC is a good idea. All the Domenech haters (myself included) can now focus on supporting the team. And the players will be more relaxed and focused since the coach issue is settled.

Posted by Jerome(Jan gatti) on 05/17/2010

Personally, I think the demise of french football started long before the aftermath of WC 06. Just to take a brief stroll down memory lane......awww!! the 06 qualifiers comes to mind, remember how the french struggled against then minnows "switzerland ireland and israel", if it hadn't been for the timely reversal of previous retirement decisions from the lights of ZIZOU, Makelele and Lilian Thuram the french would have been in serious danger of missing out on a final birth in germany which for me they played lack-luster football separate and apart from absolute brilliance from the genius Zidane. I'm frustrated at the harsh but blatant reality that the team I've been supporting for the last 14 years(since age 7)have been under achieving for 6 long years due to the stubbornness of the "FFF" and lack of vision from Domenech. I'm positive that the dawding of the "LOLO" Blanc era will be much more fruitful, hoping he utilizes players such as seniors: ribery, flamini,lass, evra and:

Posted by Jerome(Jan gatti) on 05/17/2010

Juniors: benzeema,nasri,ben afra, gourcuff,diaby,jeremy menez,blaise matuidi, david ngog,bacary sagna,aly cissokho......e.t.c

Posted by Steve on 05/19/2010

Gilles, France should have won more than just 1 WC and 1 Euro. Additionally, qualification shouldn't be a life and death struggle every go-round for a squad the quality of France. Domenech has drained the creativity and spirit out of this team.

Posted by Gilles on 05/19/2010

@ Steve, we won 2 Euros ;)
Well, shoulda, coulda woulda.... maybe you're right, but my point being that in Europe only Germany and Italy have done better in the last 30 years. A different penalty shoot-out in the 06 final and we'd be the ones with the best record with 2 WC and 2 Euros.
Now if we are talking about Domenech's record, then we agree that we are just lousy, absolutely.
On the qualification theme, bear in mind we had a perfect qualification record (8 games won) before the Euro 92 under Plantini (as coach), only to fail miserably at the said tournament (out straight away without a single victory, bit like WC 2002), and Brazil were sh*te in qualification for WC 2002 only to win it eventually, so qualifications can sometimes mean nothing. Who would have thought France could be WC finalist when we were so crap before (AND in our first 3 games there as well, 0-0 then 1-1 then 2-0!)?

Posted by Steve on 05/20/2010

Gilles, pardon the omission of the 2nd Euro. I am talking about France under Domenech (who if not for the heroics of Zidane in 2006 would be gone by now) when it comes to the arduous qualification campaigns and pedestrian performances. Still, in the larger sense, I think France should historically be near the level of Brazil and Italy. France can call on players from not only France proper but from players born in its former African and western hemisphere colonies, which is quite an advantage. Those countries are probably more football-crazed than France is and have produced some of France's best internationals. When a country can find players the likes of Viera, Makelele, and Thuram from outside its broders, well, that's quite a base of talent to select from.

Posted by Gilles on 05/20/2010

I personally like to think that modern football was born in the 1974 WC (Cruyff and Co teaching us all the beautiful game), and look at the winners since: 2 WCs for Brazil, Argentina, Germany and... Italy. Again, with a different shoot-out France would also be twice winners. So in the end we have 1 victory, 1 lost final, 2 semi-finals in 9 editions, it is rather respectable (+ the Euros), especially comparing to Spain, England and Holland who put together haven't got a victory to show for their so-called football giants status.
So France tend to do better than most people think actually, including its own fans! ;)
Now the second part of your comment isn't very accurate: we're looking at some players who came to France as toddlers, and it is French clubs and their football academies that taught them the game, not their country of origins. Thet have had French passports for most of their lives and are as French as I am. Had you mentionned Trezeguet then I'd have agreed with you,

Posted by Gilles on 06/13/2010

France went to the final last year not because of Domonech but because of Zidane's leadership.

Posted by kikus on 06/14/2010

тема не раскрыта.. может есть ещё информация по этому поводу?

Posted by kikus on 06/15/2010

отлично сделано, интеретсно читать 98)

Posted by kikus on 06/15/2010

отличный пост, автор пиши ещё

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