November 15th 2013, Kiev – Ukraine 2 France 0 in the first leg of the World Cup qualification play-off. France down and out on the brink of failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. The next day the French papers were asking if this was the worst French team ever. Penny for the thoughts of those newspapers now as France arguably look the most impressive team in the tournament so far. Didier Deschamps galvanised his team for the second leg, a 3-0 win was the result and now they are flying high top of Group E and virtually assured of topping the group thanks to a far superior goal difference than any of their rivals. Comprehensive wins against Honduras 3-0 and Switzerland 5-2 have NOW got many people talking about the French as a dark horse to go all the way – if you have read my previous blogs this is no surprise to me:-
Didier Deschamps has done a marvellous job and he puts it down to squad harmony, with all the players doing what is needed for the team, whether they are playing or on the bench. Hence the omission of Samir Nasri from their World Cup squad despite having a superb season with Manchester City. Deschamps alluded to the fact that if Nasri was not a regular starter then he could become a disruptive influence. As we stand the World Cup winning captain is spot on in regards to his management of the squad and after the player revolt in South Africa there can be no complaint about how he is going about things. It should also be noted that probably their best player Franck Ribery had to pull out of the their squad due to injury so in my opinion an even more remarkable job as we stand. They have been helped by a favourable draw (but you need things like that to go for you in any competition) and as mentioned as likely group winners a potential knockout phase game against Nigeria or Iran will be seen as winnable, following that probable games against the Germans then the hosts Brazil, so a run to the final will be very difficult but definitely within their compass if they continue performing as they have been.
ps France were second in their qualifying group hence the need for them to enter the playoffs. The team above them, Spain, the now dethroned World Champions. Back on that awful November night in Kiev who’d have thought there would be such a shift in their respective fortunes. ALLEZ, VIVE LA FRANCE!!!!!!!
ps Just a quick tit bit(e) ;DDDDDDD on a certain Luis Suarez – whose World Cup is surely over after a clear ‘chomp’ on Giorgio Chiellini, his third biting offence. Now me being mischievious, is he just trying to engineer a move out of England. It was a ridiculous thing to do and he had intimated that he saw his future in Spain at some point in his career. Liverpool may well cut their losses if he is given a lengthy ban. A top footballer, but also a top idiot.
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3 Iran 1
Nigeria 1 Argentina 3
Ecuador 1 France 2
Honduras 1 Switzerland 1
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