Without any doubt, one of the greatest shocks of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the elimination of the France national side in only the group stages of the competition that managed to reach the final in 2006, right?
I beg to differ. The France national side, when you look at it from both technical, tactical and team play wise, has been on a decline in the last decade.
The 2010 World Cup has been the third major tournament that France have been eliminated from in the early stages since 2002, and in all of those major tournaments, France have always had a problem with scoring.
After the 2004 European Championship (Euro 2004) held in Portugal, where France were eliminated in the quarter finals of the competition by the eventual winners Greece, France manager Jacques Santini resigned from his post.
This led to Raymond Domenech who had worked with the France U21 team for 11 years to be appointed the boss of the Les Bleu’s as a savior.
After Domenech being appointed manager, the controversial manager’s contract was further extended after France managed to reach the finals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
After the success of the France national side in the 2006 World Cup compared with the unsuccessful Blue’s in the 2002-2004 period, managed by Jacques Santini, Domenech’s was indeed seen as a savior, but not many people realized that France’s football was not actually any good.
However, was France really that successful in the 2006 World Cup? Yeah they did reach the final only to lose against Italy, who were also a failure in the 2010 World Cup, but was the football played by Les Blues any good in Germany?
Ok let’s think back now. France, in the 2006 World Cup in Germany could not win Switzerland or South Korea in Group G and only managed to go through to the Last 16 of the competition, by winning Togo, one of the lowest ranking team in the competition, 2-0.
Domenech’s men could only manage to score three goals in three games and again two of those came against Togo who had finished the group on 0 points.
In fact, France capitalized on the very poor performing Brazil and Spain sides and managed to go as far as they did.
France could only manage an average of 1.3 goals scored per a game in Germany and there was a crisis. This was once again proved in Euro 2008 hosted by Austria and Switzerland. France managed to score only a single goal in the group stages and conceded 6 goals finishing their group last with 1 point.
What a way to go out I suppose when you reach the finals of the biggest competition in the world two years earlier but then score only a single goal in Euro 2008, just two years later, was the Zidane headbutt of 2006 still effecting the French players?
The crisis with the France national side is not new, it is an ongoing crisis for the last decade which makes many of the French football fans look for the good old days of the 90’s.
Another major point for Mr Domenech to face will be that the majority of the French players came from the U21 team. So shouldn’t the relations between the French players and the 11 year French U21 team manager, Domenech’s be immaculate? Some of these players belong to the world’s strongest clubs, they have the discipline level! So what led to the revolt in the national side in South Africa?
Nicolas Anelka, Chelsea, swearing at Domenech, Anelka being sent home after refusing to apologize, Evra, Manchester United, arguing and almost going into a fist fight with coaching staff, the French national side boycotting the training session.
The French players were obviously supporting one person in this crisis, and that was Nicolas Anelka. So what happened to the relations between Domenech and the French players, who some he probably has known for over 1.5 decades?
Another important fact is the player selection of Domenech. Here is a guy who is alleged to choose teams against horoscopes, what horoscopes. Well it’s not anything new believe me, according to a press conference in 2004 Domenech who did not include Robert Pires, the French winger in his squad for Euro 2004 implied that Pires was a Leo and thus unpredictable.
Another important absence, from the national side was David Trezeguet in EURO 2008, in the same competition that France could only score a single goal in the competition.
Domenech also did the same thing for the French national squad in South Africa. Why was one of the biggest talents in the current period for France, Karim Benzema not included in the squad?
And of course, this was again seen by Rench and World football fans, as France could only manage to score a single goal in the group stage matches of the World Cup in South Africa, ending the group with only 1 point.
The French team is in a crisis and they need a manager who can deal with the players and also, deal with the pressure of managing one of the greatest national sides in the world, I say greatest national side as they surely do have the player quality to be so.
Uruguay completed Group A on top with seven points, and demonstrated their technical qualities and the South African way of football.
The players demonstrated their strength and knowledge of the game accompanied by the magic moves from the players.
Uruguay showed in the group stages and in the first 16 round against South Korea who they beat how they are a team who can defend well and concedes goals rarely but they are also very strong upfront.
Uruguay scored four goals in the group stages of the 2010 World Cup but conceded non, and they only conceded a goal against South Korea who they beat 2-1.
Diego Forlán is Uruguay’s best known and in fact best player but there are many other individuals who are very talented on the side.
Uruguay will now face Ghana in the Semi finals and are favorites to win.
Mexico have shown Latin Americas team spirit and have done well to reach the last 16 of the World Cup but lost against one of the tournaments, favorites, Argentina.
They only managed a draw against South Africa but were able to beat France in the game which saw the Blues implode.
However Mexico did just enough after losing against Uruguay in the last game of the group stages to go through on goal differences after completing the group on level with South Africa.
One of Mexico’s most important players was midfielder and forward, Giovani Dos Santos who was on loan from Tottenham to Galatasaray last season.
South Africa as hosts has played a strong game against Mexico and were very unlucky not to beat the Latin American side. South Africa were able to go a goal ahead but Mexico then leveled and the game had finished 1-1.
South Africa’s second game was against Uruguay who they lost 3-0 after an Uruguay team who were very strong up front and in defense.
However the unprecedented win of South Africa over France was the high point for the team but were unable to go through to the last 16 after the goals they conceded, especially against Uruguay hurt the African nation.
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