• Sunday, 25 July 2010

    France: The backlash begins

    Collective responsibility is the term. That's certainly what Laurent Blanc has dealt out as he has suspended all 23 members of the mutinous French World Cup squad for the upcoming friendly with Norway. Hugo Lloris told L'Equipe "we acted as a team" and it's as a team that they are being punished. So where does Blanc turn for a squad? Robbing himself of the best 23 available to him certainly doesn't help him pick a side, but Raymond Domenech did do him a favour by not picking some sure starters for anyone less bonkers.

    Karim Benzema, legal issues notwithstanding, will spearhead the attack, supported ably by Samir Nasri. If fit, a big if, Lassana Diarra will do the screening job in midfield while so far as goalkeepers go, it looks a straight choice between S├ębastien Frey and Monaco's Stephane Ruffier. Then it gets tricky.

    Loic Remy, currently hunted by Lyon and a clutch of Premier League clubs, and Jimmy Briand should both get the nod up front. Hatem Ben Arfa may well get the chance to shine at international level despite a club career in danger of stalling, but the other option is Lorient's highly rated Kevin Gameiro. The centre backs look set to be Laurent Koscielny, newly of Arsenal, and Michael Ciani who played with distinction under Blanc at Bordeaux. Not exactly one for the future, but 30-year old AJA right-back Cedric Hengbart had a wonderful year while Lyon's Aly Cissokho is an option on the left. Tough tackling midfielder Maxime Gonalons, Lyon's French U-21 star, should also figure.

    If it's wild punts you're after, how about Charles N'Zogbia out wide or veteran striker Pierre-Alain Frau who had his best goals return in his career for Lille last season.

    Leaving out 23 of your best players is always going to make things hard, but Blanc has an opportunity to show those would-be mutineers that they're not indispensable and will have to pull their heads in if they want to get back in his good books.

    The Euroballs selection: Ruffier; Hengbart, Koscielny, Ciani, Cissokho; Lassana Diarra, Gonalons; Nasri, Gameiro, Briand; Benzema.

    1 comment:

    rks1910 said...

    Koscielny is, with a bit of luck sorting out a Polish passport and will hopefully be turning out for the bialo czerwoni soon.