France – Still missing the accent
By David, bettingexpert.com | Edited
For a team drawn from the fourth pot, due to the slump in coefficient for Les Bleus in recent years, they fared fairly well by being grouped with England, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine. Theirs is still a delicate position though and Blanc will need to have his men in the right frame of mind if he is to avoid another embarrassing moment for the French.
Probable Tactics: 4-2-3-1
Players To Watch: Ribery
Current Probable Formation: Lloris, Debuchy, Mexes, Rami, Evra, M’Vila, Cabaye, Valbuena, Ribery, Nasri, Benzema
Euro 2012 Odds France
On the right are odds for the game against Sweden.
Euro 2012 France Preview
If we’re talking about talent it cannot be denied France keep producing loads of that after a long term project that started many years ago. The top players eventually all drift away from Ligue 1 and gain experience in higher level leagues. Quite a few from the players in this squad have been playing in the French league though.
Leonardo has been criticized for talking about the Ligue 1 as not primed for success yet in comparison to the truly top notch European leagues. In his view players are lacking that culture of winning. The mentality is not conducive to breeding solid success which resists the test of time.
In the golden years of Les Bleus they had the likes of Zidane, Deschamps, Desailly, Henry and Blanc making up the backbone of the team. All of them brought along experience, mostly on a tactical level, which they had gathered from the Serie A and Premier League. There was a sense of discipline and determination to take it one step further and succeed.
Those qualities are lacking nowadays but the players are there for Blanc to come up with something. Just looking at their attack may be enough to send shivers down the spines of opposition defences. Who can deny the talent of Frank Ribery? He might have been considered for the Golden Ball had he been around more often on the European stage with Bayern Munich. He does share some qualities with other French stars from the past though, namely Zidane and Cantona, in that he can lose his cool and see red.
Nasri has not had the best of seasons with Manchester City, often choking when more was required out of him. He is a very valid player but may be displaced by emerging talent Marvin Martin. If Remy recovers in time he would find a place in the starting eleven. Alternatively there are always Valbuena, the rediscovered Menez, Montpellier’s Giroud and Gonalons.
Upfront one would expect to find Benzema. He has been scoring a lot with Real Madrid this season as Mourinho seems to prefer him for Higuain this time round. I still don’t fancy him as a striker however. He just wastes too many chances for my tastes and I think he will bring down the French side when he fails to deliver on time.
The two central midfielders in charge of recovering the ball and playing it out to their peers will probably be Rennes’ M’Vila and Cabaye. The Newcastle midfielder has had a very good season with the Magpies and that should be enough for Blanc to prefer him in place of Alou Diarra. Without the latter there will be less physical presence but more quality passing.
After the South Africa 2010 affair Evra has more often than not been on the bench in this new French team cycle. That is why the four-man backline for Blanc will most likely feature two players from Valencia. Mathieu, however, has not been selected so Evra is tipped to take the left-back role given that the best player here, Abidal, has had to undergo a liver transplant in April. Rami should partner Milan defender Mexes. The latter did not really feature much for the Rossoneri after missing most of the first half of the season through injury. The other two had mixed results with Los Che. The right side of defence seems booked by Debuchy. Reveillere, Mamadou Sakho and Koscielny provide alternatives for Blanc in defence.
Overall it is not a very solid defence but the inconsistent characteristics which the protagonists bring to the table make it a dangerous topic for France. Goalkeeper Lloris shares this same feature with the rest of his rearguard, possessing great reflexes but not being one to shy away from the occasional blunder.
France 2012 – Inconsistency the keyword
Wherever you look in this French camp you cannot keep from at least thinking about how inconsistent each of those players can be. Apart from Ribery, who however did have his moments if we go back to how his career had fared without the last two seasons, all main players have had dangerously inconsistent moments. One day they are the candidates for the man of the match award, the other they are not themselves at all. Mexes, Valbuena, Nasri, Rami, Benzema, Lloris. The list is too long to tip this side to make it all the way.
Euro 2012 France Players To Watch
The main man has got to be Bayern Munich star Ribery. His talent is pure and his dribbling one of the most exciting around. He has got verve and no team is immune to the danger he poses.
Unfortunately, he can turn on his own colours as easily too. Controlling his temper has never been a strong point of his and seeing red for the stupidest of reactions is quite a possibility when pressure builds up and he has been asked to take control of matters.
Euro 2012 Betting France
Talented, undoubtedly, but too much of an unknown to be taken seriously. To think that the man who needs to step up and lead this team is Ribery makes French fans shudder. He is raw talent, probably the best player along with Cristiano Ronaldo at this tournament, but not one to rely on.
Expect a lot of good things in the group stage against what look like hesitant sides, but should they come up against Italy they will have to realize there is more work needed in terms of organizing their game before they can aspire to the success of the 1998 and 2000 teams.
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