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Attack is the only way back for France
Why are France struggling so much in their World Cup qualifying campaign ?
Such a team should not have had any problems against Austria, Serbia or Romania, the three teams they’ve met so far. Yet, they only have four points and it could have been worse, as it seemed Les Bleus were in for a spanking in Romania in their last game as they were trailing 2-0 after 15 minutes.
That was until Yoann Gourcuff netted with the kind of shot you see in the Bundesliga every weekend but that we have not seen here in France since Franck Sauzee in the 1990s: a 30-metre drive that went under the bar and put France back on track.
It looked like in this match, which ended in a 2-2 draw, Raymond Domenech’s side realised they were not a defensive team any more.
France built their 1998 World Cup triumph on a rock-solid defence, often playing with three defensive midfielders. They now don’t have a Didier Deschamps or Emmanuel Petit to do the dirty job. Patrick Vieira could do it, but he is starting to look his age.
So Les Bleus must accept they will concede goals, loads of goals, but they need to believe they can score – loads of them.
With players like Gourcuff, Hatem Ben Arfa, Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery but also Samir Nasri, who should return from injury one day, it is far from impossible.
PHOTO: France’s Yoann Gourcuff celebrates after scoring against Romania during their World Cup qualifier at Farul Stadium in Constanta, Oct. 11, 2008. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel