Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

World Cup Preview - Group E - France

Nickname: "Les Bleus" ("The Blues")
Absurd FIFA ranking: 19th! (Switzerland, Chile and even the USA are ranked higher!)

Coach: World Cup '98 winning skipper Didier Deschamps

Match Schedule:
June 15 – France v. Honduras (Porte Alegre, 3:00  p.m. EST, ABC)
June 20 – France v. Switzerland (Salvador, 3:00 p.m., ESPN)
June 25 – France v. Ecuador (Rio, 4:00 p.m., ESPN)

Prospects: After being placed in a qualifying group with reigning World and European Champions Spain and then having to negotiate a tricky play-off with Ukraine, Didier Deschamps' squad will have breathed a heavy sigh of relief when the Brasil 2014 draw was made and they were included in one of the weaker groups. Given that he's tended to play one striker up front and decided to leave Manchester City's Samir Nasri out of the squad, Deschamps seems to be setting up to be hard to beat rather than exciting. That will get France through the group stage but they'll run aground when up against more dynamic sides.

Key Player: In a conservative side, Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery is the one attacking spark plug capable of springing the unexpected. His goals will be an important augmentation to France's anemic attack.

Youngster to watch: PSG's 20 year-old right back Lucas Digne is superb going forward and tracking back.

Who Will Get the Goals: Unless Deschamps goes against type and plays Arsenal Olivier Giroud alongside him, Karim Benzema, who has been in excellent form for Real Madrid this season, will be the most reliable source of goals for Les Bleus.

Who Will Get the Cards: Newcastle's Mathieu Debuchy is fond of a tasty challenge now and again.

Funniest Name in the Squad: All French names are funny to me as a rule but my favorite is midfielder Blaise Mathuidi. Try that one in an outrageous Gallic accent.

Prediction: Top of a weak Group E only gets them a tricky Round of 16 fixture against Nigeria, probably the best African side in the tournament. They'll just about survive that on tournament guile alone but then will run into the German Mannschaft in the quarters.


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