The French Disconnection
I’m depressed. Having watched my national football side look more like a mid-table team in League 2, and struggle towards helpless draws against the USA and Algeria, and face possible elimination if a win isn’t reached against Slovenia next Wednesday. It is bleak times.
Then, I think to my self. Thank god I don’t support France.
A team in disharmony. Struggling to provide performances worthy of a 2006 World Cup finalist and 1998 winners. Looking into the French team is like looking into a soap opera. Everywhere you look, there have been arguments, disagreements, obscure decisions and generally shocking and woeful football being played.
The latest drama revolves around the man who has started up front, by himself, for both games, Nicolas Anelka. What he has reportadly said cannot be repeated on this family friendly blog, but I will link to it, just for those who want to get more of an idea. It is looking likely that he will be sent home in ‘disgrace’, not allowed to take part in any further part of this tournament.
That will probably be just the one game, the way France have been playing.
No wins in international cup competitions since the legendary Zinedine Zidane retired. Overall, they have played five, drawn two and lost three. In Euro 2008 they finished bottom of the Group of Death. That also includes finishing behind Romania and a 4-1 defeat to the Netherlands.
The World Cup qualifying was no better, in the group stages they lost to Austria and struggled to beat the Faroe Islands. They finished second to Serbia and only qualified because of a certain moment in Paris. Involving the Irish, Thierry Henry and a hand. I think we all know what happened there.
Warm up matches are similarily unimpressive, they lost to China for example. And two games into the World Cup, they have yet to win a game and yet to even score a goal. They haven’t even looked like scoring a goal either. They look disjointed, not as a unit. They have some top quality players, Patrice Evra, Franck Ribery, Florent Malouda. Some brilliant players, but they do not work as a team at all. It is an average French time as a result of it.
And it all lies down to one man, a man who was told even before the World Cup that he was going to be replaced by Laurent Blanc. A manager who has at least managed to win something in his time at Bordeaux. Raymond Domenech is a manager that hardly anyone understands, strange decisions and yet somehow still took France to the World Cup Final in 2006.
Domenech took over in 2004 when Jaques Santini left to become Tottenham Hotspur manager, to the surprise of just about everyone. His critics have been proved right. Even in the group stages back in 2006 France drew two games, and only beat a Togo team who had tried to go on strike during the middle of the tournament. He has won 52.4% of matches, which is the worst of any French manager since the spell of Henri Michel between 1984 and 1988.
The team don’t like him, he has played people in positions that they do not like. He has reportadly been in arguments with Florent Malouda and now Nicolas Anelka. He has no control of the team, Domenech isn’t any good as manager.
Which will come to the relief of the many French football fans that he is leaving at the end of the World Cup (22nd June to be more precise). Laurent Blanc, the manager of Bordeaux who became the first manager to break the Lyon dominance of Ligue 1 in France. Blanc has won the European Championships and the World Cup for France. The future is bright for them at least.
No matter what, it will be another poor year for the French national team. Another year where a team of potential stars have failed to live up to any expectations, another year that the can’t reach the knockout stages. The future is bright, it just isn’t here now.