France has been proving time and time again that it can stand well against the opponents. They could easily score plenty of scores. But once again their defence looked porous and weal. This should be a matter of great concern for coach Didier Deschamps before facing tougher opponents in Germany for a spot in the finals of European Championship. Recently, French sports daily L Equipe warned with a headline, “And now, Everest” after Sunday’s 5-2 quarter final win over the sensations of tournament. The headline clearly summed up the task awaiting the host nation, who has the firepower up front but do not look well equipped at the back for such a gut wrenching and daunting challenge.
BREAKS IN FRENCH DEFENSE – EURO 2016
Leading with a 4-0 at half time against Iceland, France dropped their guard in the second half. They thus conceded two goals to allow their brave but narrow opponents some consolation. This was not the situation for the first time in the tournament. France has earlier showed signs of nerves as well . It has looked vulnerable notably from the set pieces. Samuel Umtiti, who won his first cap in the absense of Adil Rami via suspension, was not completely assured and left back Patrice Evra (who is 35 years old).
It was hence a poor display by Samuel much to our disappointment. Coach Deschamps lost his most reliable center back in Raphael Varane through an injury in the build up to the finals. But he still has many options to his discretion. He could either bring back Rami or stick with Umtiti or play Eliaquim Mangala.
Backline Defense of French Team
Whoever partners with Laurent Koscienly at the heart of the back line, defense of the French team will clearly be their main loose point when they take on Germany on Thursday in Marseille. Deschamps should have been satisfied with a few other things which came to the fore front on Sunday, notably the fact that his own side scored plethora of goals and took the game to their enemies straight away.
The French team had always failed to do this in the previous matches. Striker Olivier Giroud said, “We are growing. This is great for our confidence. We had issues with the way we started our game and that has now been clearly resolved. There still are many things we need to work on and we will do all that together but yes, we are definitely feeling very good”. He is the one who scored twice and was named as the man of the match.
Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet scored first goal
Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet, who scored one fine goal each, also shone well and Antoine moved to the top of the table of scorers with four goals. France chased its way to the third triumph at a major event on home soil after the 1984 European Championship and World Cup 1998. It could be argued that the French team are yet to face a top European football nation and whether this tournament is a success or a failure will ultimately depend on how they fare against Germany.
Germans have a good track record of beating the French in the knockout stages of priority tournaments. In an interview, Deschamps said, “We are looking better but Germany remains Germany. It is the best team in Europe and in the world and the only ones controlling the situation with a good technical quality everywhere, from the forwards to the goalkeeper”. Deschamps’ side lost to the eventual winner in World Cup 2014 quarter finals. We cannot forget the pain suffered by them in 1982 and 1986 World Cups. He added, “We will fight for our own chances knowing fully well what we stand against.”