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Nobody speaks about football’s top 20 elites without mentioning France. The 1998 World Cup champions elevated themselves among the sport’s highest ranked nations such as Brazil, Italy, and Argentina.
The achievements of the French national football team in the late 1990s and the early part of the last decade are a proof of Les Bleus’ power.
In the past few years though, France have struggled to affirm their authority even against minor teams. Their disastrous run during Euro 2008 which saw them exit from the group stages publicly exposed the weaknesses of the club.
Throughout the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, Les Bleus performed unconvincingly – leaving French supporters anxious about the team’s fortunes.
Now the nation will have to thank destiny for allowing ‘La Main d’Henry’ to save the team from suffering an upset. This controversial incident helped France to reach South Africa 2010 at the expense of the Republic of Ireland.
Perhaps, Les Bleus won’t be able to “benefit” from “miracles” in every difficult and important match during the World Cup.
Time is running out for the French to build an invincible squad which will terrorize opponents during the big event come June.
However, Raymond Domenech doesn’t feel the need to panic and to rush. Speaking ahead of the friendly encounter against Spain, the criticized French coach explained:
"We know that Spain and Brazil are World Cup favorites,
"This match is offering us the chance to see where we stand."
As the French national team is facing the pressure of proving their value by defeating the Spaniards on Wednesday despite the squad’s injury worries, Raymond Domenech warned the public:
"It will be hard to find a good balance with all the injured players and the new faces that I selected."
"In 2006, we played against Slovakia at home in March and we were defeated 2-1," the coach added.
"It had no consequence on our preparations for the World Cup."
As Coach Vicente del Bosque prepares to create ‘THE’ perfect roster which will be given the task of conquering the world in Africa, Spain have chosen to play a strong team, France, so as to test their potential.
Goal poacher Fernando Torres explained the reasons behind the benefit of playing against Les Bleus. He said:
"These kinds of matches are great, especially because we will be playing against a team that we consider as one of the best.
“These are always great matches for Spain and we have a lot of motivation to play against them [France] since they eliminated us from the last World Cup."
Spain are obviously on a great run. It seems like winning has become a habit for the European champions. Since their shocking defeat against the USA during the 2009 Confederations Cup tournament in South Africa, they are undefeated.
France and Spain have met 29 times in the history of football and Les Bleus have defeated their rivals 11 times.
Considering the comparison between Spain’s wonderful form and France’s unconvincing performances, one may quickly tip La Furia Roja to win on Wednesday.
However, history is not on the side of the Spanish. The last time they beat Les Bleus on French soil was way back in 1922.
Will Vicente del Bosque’s men break this curse?
France will be without Karim Benzema and William Gallas. Louis Saha has also pulled out from the squad due to injury.
Panathinaikos striker Djibril Cissé will replace him.
One quick note:
Cissé has never been able to participate in a World Cup tournament as he always suffers a long-term injury blow weeks before the event.
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