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A generation of viewers came into their fandom around France’s 1998 World Cup triumph that Les Bleus will always be a world power. However the recent reality is less flattering. After the 2006 Germany World Cup France has qualified for three major tournament but failed to make an impact. Zinedine Zidane just retired that year. At the recent two events of 2008 Euro and 2010 Africa, France failed to advance out of its group. At the Euro 2012, Laurent Blanc’s team make a meek exit at the quarterfinals.
There are a number of reasons for their Failure to live up to the global reputation. France team has failed to replace their icons like Lilian Thuram, Zidane and Thierry Henry. This time France team has a great chance with an easy group for the Brazil world cup. Coach Didier Deschamps is hoping for the Les Bleus to take in a new height.
Qualifying to the finals:
Hopes of unseating Spain in Europe’s Group I were given a boost in Madrid with Les Bleus’ third qualifiers. But the France team gave that point back with a 1-0 home loss to the world champions. So they were destined to return to the playoffs.
But France team got near verge of missing the finals by losing a 2-0 first leg to Ukraine. Finally they managed to switch in formation to turn the tide in Saint-Denis. Karim Benzema and Mamadou Sakho provided the first half goals. And the second half winner from Sakho led the team through to its fifth consecutive World Cup final event.
Many of the others wanted to draw with Switzerland. It was the seeded team for others. But when Ecuador and Honduras joined them, group E became one of the tournament’s easiest groups.
Undoubtedly France team is favorite in their group. France’s name value makes the nation favorite in the eyes of some. This group will prove kinder than most France could have been drawn into.
France vs. Honduras – 15 June, 15:00, Porto Alegre
Switzerland vs. France – 20 June, 16:00, Salvador
Ecuador vs. France – 25 June, 16:00, Rio de Janeiro
France team star: Franck Ribéry
Frank Ribery is the reigning French Player of the Year. His one-on-one ability could prove lethal wide left of Les Bleus’s dangerous midfield. Deschamps has a threesome plan with Yohan and Matuidi to force the opponents to dedicate numbers to the problem. Ribery has an average of 14 goals per season with Bayern Munich. The more he gets room to score the more the chances for the France team to last in Brazil World Cup 2014.
Secret weapon: Blaise Matuidi
Matuidi’s virtues in Ligue 1 tend to be underappreciated. He provides the strong two-way connecting force for Paris Saint-Germain. He could serve a similar role for Les Bleus. His influence at either end of the pitch could prove just as important. The former Troyes and Saint-Etienne man continues to show his value going forward with 15 goals over the last two years at PSG.
Manager: Didier Deschamps
Didier Deschamps was hired in the wake of Euro 2012. He is the former midfielder of Juventus. He has slowly instilled some of his reputed steel into his national team. Hopefully it will be assured in the more robust 4-3-3 the coach has used after experimenting with 4-2-3-1 and various versions of a 4-4-2. Excluding one of the team’s most talented players, Samir Nasri, was another symptom of that edge. A former World Cup and European champion as a player, Didier Deschamps is trying to lift France to the same heights as a coach.
There is a slight chance of three way fight to get out of group E. it depends on Ecuador proving strong in the South American World Cup. Otherwise France team finishes ahead of Switzerland will depend on Les Bleus playing to their potential. France team must be expecting to get to the knockout round.