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England vs France Friendly: Testing Les Bleus, Time For The Youth?

November 17, 2010 By Angela Asante
The England vs France friendly will offer England and France the ultimate opportunity to end the year 2010 in a honorable manner. However, injuries and youngsters will give this match a special tone.
Whereas neutral football fans around the world will forever remember the year 2010 as a great celebration for the beautiful game thanks to the World Cup tournament that successfully took place in South Africa, supporters of England and France’s national teams want to forget it as soon as possible. The 2010 FIFA World Cup saw both countries exposing all their problems. In other words, call England and France’s South African adventures a total disgrace – on the pitch like off the pitch.

Just as it is for Les Bleus, the list of the Three Lions’ failing points is long and could go on and on. For the French, appointing Laurent Blanc as the team’s new coach was a vital decision to turn Les Bleus’ fate into a better direction.

Former boss Raymond Domenech had long been the fans number 1 enemy, either way. Fortunately enough for France, the national team’s ruined fortress seems to be rebuilding itself under the leadership and through the inspiration of Coach Laurent Blanc.

Overnight success never happens, realistically speaking. In the same way, France are working with time as they go through their transitional phase – from humiliation to achieving pride again. Time will tell – certainly sooner rather than later – if they really are on the right track, and Wednesday night’s England friendly will present itself as a good test as pundits keep analyzing France’s current situation.

According to play maker Florent Malouda, this match could provide crucial motivation ahead of the European qualifiers which will resume later next year.

“When you play England at Wembley, it’s a big moment. A good performance and a good result will be good for our confidence,” Malouda told FIFA.com.

“It will provide a reference point to show exactly where we’re at as a team. We are on the way up and I think it’s a moment for youngsters in the team to create a bit of history.

“But, let’s not put too much pressure on them by expecting too much too soon. These games against England [and Brazil next] will put us in a positive frame of mind when the European qualifiers will resume again.”

Actually, Wednesday night’s England vs France friendly match will see a bunch of youngsters and irregular starters fighting for their places at the senior level in the name of their respective flag. Is the Three Lions and Les Bleus’ injury issue a blessing in disguise?

In fact, Laurent Blanc’s philosophy is to blend young players with experienced veterans whereas Fabio Capello is yet to stick to a starting XI with England as the door remains wide open for any impressive English talent. Now how does Blanc view Wednesday’s friendly in terms of the kind of team he would have to play considering injury woes?

“That’s our hardest game since the finals. I’ve seen [England’s] squad and it’s the best team that they can put on the pitch,” France’s manager explained while talking to FIFA.com.

“So when we speak about young and new players, we’ve got to be careful about the decision of putting them for such a tough match. If they have a bad game, it can harm them.

“But if they do well, it will help the team recover as a whole. Before and after the England tie, we are and we will remain in a reconstruction process.”

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