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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Euro 2008: France Squad

There are only few days left before the much-awaited Euro 2008 kicks off. This is the tournament the whole football world is now eagerly waiting for. The tournament is going to be held jointly in Austria and Switzerland. Players, coaches, organizers are now busy with their preparation and the fans who are traveling to the venues to watch the matches sitting inside the stadium are also spending a busy time with their last minute preparations. In this blog, we covered a number of team squads until now. As part of it, you will get to know about the 23-man final squad of world cup runner up France:

You know that France is considered as one of football powers in world football. They have produced the great footballers like Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane in the past. France got their first European success in Euro 1984 at home, when Michel Platini led his side to win the first ever title in a major football tournament. However, France won their first and only World Cup title in 1998 at home thanks to the superb performance by Zinedine Zidane. France also achieved their second European success in 2000 in the vibrant presence of Zidane. However, France could not show anything impressive four years later in Euro 2004 as the French side was eliminated at the quarter final stage of the tournament. However, France’s 2006 World Cup performance is quite successful as they finished runner up in the tournament being defeated to Italy in the final. So, France is going into the tournament with lots of expectation from the fans, despite the fact that France has been drawn into Group C, termed as ‘group of death’ in the presence of world champion Italy, another big power Netherlands and in form Romania. No doubt, it is a good chance for France to take the revenge of their defeat in the final of 2006 World Cup tournament. Nevertheless, it is true that France is definitely not happy with being drawn in the same group alongside Italy in the group stage.

Date

Competing Teams

Venue

9 June 2008

Monday

France vs Romania

Letzigrund Stadion, Zürich

13 June 2008

Friday

France vs Netherlands

Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf, Berne

17 June 2008

Tuesday

France vs Italy

Letzigrund Stadion, Zürich

France made it to the Euro 2008 final finishing runner up to Italy in Group B of qualifying round. However, France defeated Italy 3-1 at home, taking the revenge of their defeat in the last world cup final. However, France lost to Scotland in both legs in the qualifier, allowing Italy win the group. To tell the truth, France’s performance was not bad in the qualifying round of Euro 2008. You know that following the 2006 FIFA World Cup, France lost its most influential star in the recent history: Zinedine Zidane- as he retired from international football. It is true that filling up the gap left by a player like Zinedine Zidane is not that easy and to some extent, impossible. However, the current France squad has a number of talented young players who already started excelling their career in club football.

France Coach Raymond Domenech never got the support of the French Media, not even after leading his team to the final of 2006 FIFA World Cup. Actually, Raymond Domenech is a success-bound coach, who is always focused on achieving success, giving less thought to the style of the football his team is playing. May be that is the reason, he never got the favor of French media, even after bringing success for the team. He faced criticism once again after he named the France squad for Euro 2008, leaving a number of big names out of the squad. France striker David Trezeguet is one of those big names who failed to impress Raymond Domenech to cut the final squad for the upcoming Euro 2008 tournament. However, it is also true that Raymond Domenech proved his ability in picking up talented players like Franck Ribery, who Domenech recruited in the last world cup rooster of France despite huge criticism from the media, showed impressive performance in the last world cup and till date, he is perhaps one of the automatic choices of France squad because of his continuous performance both in the club level as well as in the national side. So, Raymond Domenech knows a thing or two about team selection and it would not be fair to criticize the coach fully, without taking France’s success under his stewardship into account. Now, let us look at the final 23-man France squad for Euro 2008 tournament.

To begin with, France coach is expected to give the goal keeping gloves to Gregory Coupet, despite the fact that he did not have an overly successive season at Olympique Lyonnais. He is 35 year old now, but this is going to be the first major tournament for him as the first choice goal keeper. Because of famous keeper Fabien Barthez, Coupet could not play regularly in the national side. France’s defense is full of strength and a combination of youth and experienced players. They conceded only five goals during qualifying round. Lillian Thuram is there with his huge experience, while centre back William Gallas is expected to win a place in the starting line up of France in the tournament. However, I think, Raymond Domenech should have considered about Gael Clichy for the final squad as he spent a good season at Arsenal. Eric Abidal and Patrice Evra are favorites for the left back position, while Willy Sagnol is expected to be at the right back position.

Midfield is perhaps the main strength of France. Captain Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele are the two of the best holding midfielders of current time. They will definitely provide more strength to the defense. Florent Malouda and Franck Ribery are expected to be in the left and right wing, while Thierry Henry seems to be the automatic choice for the lone striker of France, despite the presence of experienced Nicolas Anelka and youngster Karim Benzema. If France plays on 4-4-2 formation then Nicolas Anelka could also be seen in the France attack alongside Henry. However, even if Raymond Domenech switches to 4-2-3-1 formation, Nicolas Anelka might be seen as a deep lying forward.

At last, I would like to say that France has a good defense and midfield, alongside an experienced attack. So, I can see that France has every possibility to replicate their world cup form in Euro 2008 tournament as well. Here, I am giving the full list of 23 players of France squad for Euro 2008 from guardian:

Goalkeepers

Gregory Coupet (Olympique Lyonnais), Sebastien Frey (Fiorentina), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders

Jean-Alain Boumsong (Olympique Lyonnais), Eric Abidal (Barcelona), William Gallas (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Francois Clerc (Olympique Lyonnais), Lilian Thuram (Barcelona), Sebastien Squillaci (Olympique Lyonnais), Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders

Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan), Claude Makelele (Chelsea), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Samir Nasri (Olympique Marseille), Jeremy Toulalan ( Olympique Lyonnais), Lassana Diarra (Portsmouth), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

Forwards

Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Olympique Lyonnais), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Bafetimbi Gomis (St Etienne)

Related articles:

Euro 2008

Wikipedia

Goal.com

Guardian

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