Laurent Blanc- During his playing days, he was a very distinguished center back who terrorized strikers all over the world. From France to Spain to Italy to England, he was one of the world’s best in that position during his days. Funnily enough though, he missed the final of the 1998 world cup following a suspension after being involved in an incident with current Croatia coach Slaven Bilic.
Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema, Yann M’Villa, Frank Ribery
France are the most successful side in this group having won the Euro’s 1n 1984 and 2000 a record better than all the other teams in this group.
Laurent Blanc was a defender but don’t expect s much defensive play in his game. He’s a coach who loves to attack going by his 4-2-3-1 formation I expect him to use. France of late has got some pretty good midfielders and I think the 4-2-3-1 should just be fine as it can also be transformed to 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 in times when the team is on the back foot.
Captain Hugo Loris has been in pretty decent form and should lead his side from the back with Steve Mandanda of Marseille as replacement (I love the way Mandanda is confident, expect a few tears from him when they finally get knocked out). The four man backline should be taken by Adil Rami of Valencia partnering Philipe Mexes while Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny and Kaboul of Tottenham should act as cover. The left back position though should be taken by Debuchy of Lille in Sagna’s absence while Manchester United’s Patrice Evra would be my best option for right back; meanwhile Lyon’s Anthony Reveillere is good opion for cover but can also play on left back.
The anchoring midfielders then should be Yann Mvilla and Cabaye of Tottenham, both very tought tackling and very good defensively. Substitutions in these positions then should be Alou Diarra and Valbuena both of Marseille.
In Central midfield then should be high flying, Samir Nasri who should be flanked by Frank Ribery in the left and Flourent Malouda on the right. The front man then should be Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema but with further options in Kevin Gameiro of PSG, Olivier Giroud of Montpellier.
In case of a 4-4-2 though, Blanc would think of playing Menzes as a second striker, Nasri on the wings while Cabaye and M’villa in the middle.
My main bets to really shine in this tournament should be Samir Nasri and Benzema for not having been carried to the World Cup while Mvilla should shine to impress his keen admirers all over Europe. I can never rule the possibility of France causing major upsets and with Hugo Loris in goal, this team is well documented for a late exit or even a place in the final if they maintain their discipline.
French football fans should take keen interest though in the football rather than side shows. Remember Anelka leading that revolt and the whole press was on the matter, I expect better things this time round and with probably the French Legends of the game on the stands, success should be just around the corner. No Trezeguet for this one, so I don’t see missed penalties; hope not.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first time France won the Euro Cup was in 1984 when it was hosted on home soil. Platini and Bellone scored as they beat Spain 2 nil. In that tournament alone, Platini scored 9 goals with 2 hatrick’s to his name.