Today in the 4th of 16 blogs, I will look at the 2006 Runner-up for the World Cup, France. They will start World Cup play against the underdog Romania side on June 9.
On June 9, the French will come out and they will definitely have something to prove in their first group match. France have the best opportunity in the group to take momentum and run with it. In the "Group of Death", it will be a huge boost to get a win and hopefully push onto the next round. If France were to not get a win, I think they have almost no chance of going through. So, without any more said, let's look at some of the team's key attributes.
Strength- This team has many strengths and don't have a whole lot of bad things, but I'll just choose one for you. The thing I love about the new France (the one without Zidane) is the fact that a lot of them are so young and are so good. Nasri, Malouda, Benzema, Dierra, and others are so young, yet you just feel they are innocent enough to not worry about anything and just be free and flowing. I think France has to come out and express themselves as a side. The midfield and strikers need to stay up and attack because that defence is pretty darn good as a whole, as well as the goalkeeper and his backup. With a solid defence led by William Gallas, the French could score tons of goals thanks to the help of Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, and others.
Weakness- This team's strength is somewhat what there weakness is, too in a way. One of the bad things that has happened to this side in the past is not being in shape. This proved to be true during the 2006 World Cup when France playing during the sun was up. When the sun was up, I noticed that the French were a little lacking, especially Zidane and Henry. When they squeezed into the knockout rounds, the games started to be played later, and they played better in the cool. That is what I believe ultimately led them to success in the WC. Even though the youngsters may be in shape, I believe that the older guys may come out and get tired and cost them dearly. If Henry, Vieira, Makelele, and company get tired, then they will be in for a long few nights.
Player to Watch- For new fans of the game, you may be surprised. But for the real fans, you all know who to watch when France take the pitch. Franck Ribery is one of the best youngsters in the world, not doubt about it. At 25 years old, Ribery will look to make a splash that everyone will remember. With a good performance in the tourney, Ribery could pick any club he wanted to go to, that is how good this kid is. I'm ready to see what he can do now that he is starting to mature as a player.
Prediction- I just want to go ahead and say sorry to you. I believe that as good as France is they will only come in 3rd place in Group C AKA "The Group of Death". They are a great side, but it will be tough for them to make it through. Of course, I won't be surprised to see them go through to the Quarter-Finals.
Once again, thanks. Tomorrow, I'll look at Germany. Until next time, it's been Keeper and I'm out.