The young guns of Les Blues: Rebuilding the 2006 French masterpiece
The time has come and the teams are getting their boots strapped and pitches ready. The air smells of Samba magic and the stage is set in Brazil. Enter FIFA Football World Cup, the biggest sporting event that synchronizes the entire world to its tunes.
Less than a month left and the teams are busy preparing their final squads and most of them have unveiled them as well. There are fresh faces, and there are experienced warhorses. Overall the big guns like Spain, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, etc. seem to woo the fans with the talented stars ruling the roster. Notably one team who drew the headlines back in the 2006 World Cup finals are enjoying quite a dormant phase during the pre World cup roundup. The obvious guess, the team that is being referred to here is France.
Curtain call to 2006 and the only name that sent a shrill across the entire tournament with his dazzling display of skills and touch was the living legend, Zinedine Yazid Zidane. It was a dream run for France and that continued till the finals. The team rode on the orchestrated display of the man Zizou. However the next World Cup 2010 and the star factor was missing from the French team. They managed to qualify after a lot of huff and puff. The expectations were not much as the team lacked firepower and it was evident from the names in the squad. The luminaries of 2006 had mostly retired and few others who were there were at the sunset end of their careers. Thierry Henry, Nicholas Anelka, Sidney Govou were all about to retire from the international scene. The team lacked an able leadership as Zidane was gone and his absence was evident in the way the team played. There was talent, but Franck Ribery who was being touted as the next best thing in French football failed to impress. Failed expectations, lack of wins, discontent among the players and the fans, lead to the obvious result, a group stage exit from the 2010 World Cup. The team got disarrayed in internal conflicts and the downfall just started. It was a painful scenario for any French football fan. The team was chasing shadows of the 2006 World Cup performance. It was incomparable, the ease, the panache and the agility that the master, Zinedine Zidane had infused, just went kaput after he retired.
Times are different now. The French team has resurfaced after a long gap of almost a decade. There are new faces along with a miscible class of experienced personnel. Thus what is required right now is a perfect execution of the even more perfect concoction. There is immense talent at store with the likes of Griezmann, Pogba as well rich experience in the form of Benzema, Ribery, and Giroud etc waiting to strike at their peak. What was there in 2006 was an able head coordinating the entire entity of the eleven individuals. However this team has a unified approach and skills to match the talent at display in the world’s biggest sporting event. The expectations therefore are quite high from the current crop. The manger is a master class himself having won the 1998 World Cup and having a thorough knowledge of the tricks of the trade. An excellent channelization of the same, and bingo, we have a squad that can put the super powers to shame.
Time to take a look at the squad and at the outset it emanates vibrancy and youthful vigour. The names of Koscielny, Varane, Sagna, and Debuchy clearly exhibit a colossal amount of flair at disposal. At the midfield arena Cabaye and Pogba, nobody can deny that these two players are a class apart on their days. Recently PSG scooped up Cabaye for an astronomical price and that shows the mettle that he possesses. Further Sissokho and Valbuena have the required experience at their arsenal and such is an essential element in a stage as big as the World Cup finals. In the forward line it is start studded affair with every name vying for attention and glory. Griezmann, Ribery, Loic Remy, Giroud, and Benzema, the Real Madrid hitman make up an impressive forward line. Given the scenario it is matter of time before they burst on to the scene. Another significant name donning the reserves is the Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin who at a very young age is drawing interest from the top clubs of Europe owing to his quality of football.
Thus the possible line up seems to be quite a strong one and the inclusion of young guns in the team proves that Deschamps is relying on the pace and skill of the youth. The reinvigoration of Benzema will certainly be an added feather as the form of Ribery is a bit questionable these days. The midfield line up will see PSG duo Matuidi and Cabaye and Juventus man Pogba forming a strong framework to support the forwards. Ribery, Benzema and Valbuena would be the probable starting line and a talented midfield behind them would enable them to hit the bull’s eye favorably. The turnaround of the Les Bleus was based on this system of 3 v 3 supporting in the mid and forward line with Benzema as the sole striker upfront. The Zidane days are all but over and it is futile to expect such mastery on the pitch. However what this team has is the integrated spirit. There may not be class oozing out from the names but that can be compensated with the boisterous midfield. The glorious midfield of Viera, Makelele, and Diarra supporting the masters Zidane, Henry upfront along with Ribery in the flanks may not be seen this time. Nevertheless the lack of experience can be matched by the talent that the current squad possesses. At the back it is a tried and tested combination of Sagna, Evra or Debuchy at the side backs and the likes of Koscielny, Sissokho contending for the centre back position. The midfield boasts of real talent as already elucidated in the form of Pogba, Matuidi and Cabaye. The forward line is waiting to impress as it is filled with superstars of another pedigree.
The side seems strong and with luck by their side it is a matter of time before the French football team unleashes the unbridled talent store and soars ahead in the finals. Fortune favours the brave and with a relatively easy group in the form of Switzerland, Honduras, and Ecuador the odds are stacked quite in the favour of the Les Bleus. With crossed fingers and hoping hearts let’s wish the lads a glorious cup run and make Zizou proud at Brazil 2014.