Euro 2012 Preview: France

Euro 2012 Preview: France
Laurent Blanc
Winners 1984,2000
Group D Winners
1 (May 2001)
27 (Sep 2010)
10/1 (bet365)

June 11th – England (1700 BST, Donetsk, ITV)
June 15th – Ukraine (1700 BST, Donetsk, ITV)
June 19th – Sweden (1945 BST, Kiev, ITV)

An embarrassing outing in South Africa finally saw the end of Raymond Domenech. Laurent Blanc stepped in and immediately dropped the entire squad who had sulked their way through the World Cup and although France lost that first game and their first qualifier to Belarus, Blanc’s influence has seen a steady improvement seeing the French go on a remarkable unbeaten run with Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri returning to the squad after falling out with Domenech during Euro 2008.

Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye has also established himself after getting his chance, the tensions between coach and players have all but disappeared but Blanc has a tempestuous relationship with the FFF.Head of the French FA Noel le Groet has been reluctant to extend Blanc’s contract and with several clubs interested in him, Ukraine and Poland could be his swansong.

Blanc is another believer in the 4-2-3-1 system with his captain the quiet Hugo Lloris being the goalkeeper.

They possess a solid central partnership with Phillippe Mexes and Adil Rami the probable starters. The uncapped Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will be back up.

Mathieu Debuchy or Anthony Reveillere could play right back with Patrice Evra on the left although he has been subpar for club this season.

Alou Diarra and Rennes youngster Yann M’Vila could play in the holding role and there is the option of Cabaye and Blanc has a pleasant dilemma as to who can have the attacking midfield spots with Samir Nasri,Yoann Gourcuff,Jeremy Menez,Mathieu Valbuena,Loic Remy,Marvin Martin and Franck Ribery all vying for places.

Karim Benzema should play the striking role and after missing out in South Africa will be looking to make an impact following a solid season with Real Madrid.


Already attracting admiring glances from Europe’s top leagues, the 21 year old Rennes man is at his best as a holding midfielder.

Often compared to Claude Makelele and Patrick Vieira, he can create with a wide range of passing, possesses a solid work rate and like most good defensive midfielders can be a ball winning tackler if need be.

France are no longer a joke, the comedy era of Domenech has ended and been replaced by a solid team under Laurent Blanc. France possess a lot of talent but one problem they do have is sometimes when things aren’t going so well they lack that individual who stands up and pushes the team on.

They have a spine that could stay together for years in Lloris,Rami,M’Vila and Benzema but they do have individuals that flatter to deceive such as Franck Ribery.French football has come a long way in just a couple of years and this team don’t carry the failure of South Africa and Austria/Switzerland with them.

This is a good team but there’s still a few question marks about them, they looked wobbly at times during qualifying and were extremely nervous in the final qualifier needing a Samir Nasri penalty to avoid the play-offs.

A few will have them as outsiders and I do think they’ll reach the last eight, I’d be surprised if they got to the final however.

Danny (D-Good)
Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83

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