Monday, June 09, 2008

Euro 2008 Day 3: The Blues are fading away

Group C: Holland, Italy, Romania, France

  • France 0-0 Romania

  • Even though I have not seen today's opening Group C game, I was expecting France to tie 0-0 with Romania. At best, I thought France might have managed a 1-0 win but given the current rot in the team, 0-0 was the way to go. Sure enough, the game ended goalless.

    2002: the downfall starts..

    The malaise in the current French team started during the 2002 World Cup. A lot was expected of France during that tournament but a majority of the players appeared tired and jaded. The Arsenal duo of Henry and Vieira had nothing left in them as they played themselves into the ground to win a memorable league-cup double for Arsenal, while the injuries to Zidane (just before the tournament) & Pires left them with no creative options.

    2004: no improvements

    France should have rebuilt after that 2002 loss as they had a great crop of young players but they turned in a dire display at Euro 2004. They were awful against England in the opening game and only salvaged a 2-1 win via two late goals from Zidane (a free-kick and penalty). A 2-2 draw against Croatia was followed by a 3-1 win over a mis-matched Swiss team. In the Quarters, France could not manage anything against an organized but talent less Greek team.

    The warning signs were there but apparently no one was listening. The French Federation hired Raymond Domenech and it has been nothing but disaster since then.

    The Road to 2006

    These were the results that France managed in the qualifying games for the 2006 World Cup:
    France 0-0 Israel
    Faroe Isl. 0-2 France
    France 0-0 Ireland
    Cyprus 0-2 France
    France 0-0 Switzerland
    Israel 1-1 France
    France 3-0 Faroe Islands
    Ireland 0-1 France
    Switzerland 1-1 France
    France 4-0 Cyprus

    The team had no creative ideas and produced nothing but pathetic displays in the qualifying games. But since France made the World Cup, Domenech was safe.

    France's performances in the 2006 world Cup were forgettable. They began the tournament with a predictable 0-0 tie with Switzerland (I am proud to have predicated that correct result, which helped me in my soccer pool) and followed that with a muddled 1-1 tie with South Korea. A 2-0 win over Togo allowed France to make the second round where they came back from a goal down to beat Spain 3-1. Not much credit to France there as Spain once again failed to play to their potential. A 1-0 Quarter final over Brazil was seen a great result but all France had to do was stand their ground and prevent Brazil from having space to run around; they could then simply observe an ineffective Brazilian team offer nothing in terms of offense. France duly beat Portugal 1-0 in the semi's to make the final. Since France played decently in the final and only lost on penalties, all was forgiven again. Domenech was kept in charge.

    The road to Euro 2008

    The following are the results of France's 2008 Qualifying games:
    Georgia 0-3 France
    France 3-1 Italy
    Scotland 1-0 France
    France 5-0 Faroe Islands
    Lithuania 0-1 France
    France 2-0 Ukraine
    France 1-0 Georgia
    Italy 0-0 France
    France 0-1 Scotland
    Faroe Islands 0-6 France
    France 2-0 Lithuania
    Ukraine 2-2 France

    France are truly lucky to be in Euro 2008 as their two 1-0 losses to Scotland highlighted their creative inability. Despite having some of the best players in European football, the French team cannot manage to even turn in one decent performance.

    I still expect France to bundle their way into the Quarters at Euro 2008 and they may even make the semis, but this team is living on its last legs. The Federation needs to bring in a visionary manager who can get the best out of the players and even integrate some of the younger players in the team. Also, they need a manager who does not spend more time running around on personal crusades against his players while neglecting the tactical developments of the French team.

    1 comment:

    Pacze Moj said...

    You didn't miss anything by missing the France-Romania game.