Tag: France

The 2011 Women’s World Cup: Group A Preview

It’s now less than two weeks until the 2011 Women’s World Cup starts in Germany, and over the next couple of weeks or so we’ll be taking the time to bring you a quick run-down of all of the teams that are taking part in this year’s competition. FIFA had considered increasing the number of teams entering this year’s tournament to twenty-four, and then to twenty. The former number was rejected because it was considered that increasing to number would dilute the competition too much (critics of women’s football were arguably handed ammunition when Germany beat Argentina 11-0 in the opening match of the last tournament), whilst the latter, just as logically, was rejected as being entirely unworkable. This year’s qualification period started just over two years ago, and ended in November of last year. First up is the group featuring the hosts and defending world and European champions, Germany; Group A. Germany (Tournament Odds – 11/10): Winners of the last two World Cups as well as the last European Championships and the host nation for this year’s showpiece event, if women’s football could be described as “coming home”, then it surely is for Germany this summer. Everywhere we look in their squad for this summer sits the mark of sheer quality. With a mixture of older and younger players, the balance between youth and experience is delicately woven...

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France Fall At The First

In England, it isn’t difficult to run into Francophobia. Sometimes it feels as if a range of feelings from mild dislike to irrational, rabid hatred are hard-wired into our DNA. As such, those of us that like (or even love) the country that lies just the other side of the English Channel can find ourselves fighting the corner for what became and remains this country’s biggest rivals. This summer, it has been the French football team which has made some laugh and others cry, becoming the laughing stock of world football – for twenty-four hours, at least. For those of us that were born in the late 1960s or early 1970s, one likely outlet for Francophilia was the national football team. The French national team of the early 1980s, the team of Michel Platini, Alain Giresse, Dominique Rocheteau and Jean Tigana, was almost impossibly romantic. At the 1982 World Cup finals, they were, according to received wisdom, robbed of a place in the final by the antics of the West German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher, whose attempt to decapitate Patrick Battiston went unpunished in a match which ended in a penalty shoot-out which Schumacher won for the West Germans.  Two years later, however, France won the European Championships on home soil. It was a victory of brilliance and almost unbearable tension. The brilliance come from Michel Platini, who scored nine...

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World Cup 2010: South Africa 2-1 France

Twelve years ago, at their own World Cup finals, France comfortably beat South Africa in their opening group game, going on to become the sixth nation to win the tournament at home. Today South Africa became the first hosts in the 80-year history of the competition to fall at the first hurdle, but their blushes were somewhat spared with this spirited display against an abject French side in their last game under Raymond Domenech. Twelve years is a long time in football.

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Anelka’s Outburst Shows Up French Shortcomings

Sitting an watching from the other side of “La Manche”, one of the few crumbs of comfort for England supporters over the first week of the 2010 World Cup finals has been the apparent disintegration of the France team over the same period of time. This reached its natural conclusion yesterday, when Nicolas Anelka was sent home from the tournament over a his refusal to apologise for a verbal attack upon the French coach Raymond Domenech during their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mexico on Thursday evening. Anelka has, unsurprisingly, subsequently announced his retirement from international football. France’s first half performance against Mexico had been less that inspiring, and amongst the least effective of all of their players had been Nicolas Anelka. In a match during which France desperately needed an opening goal, Anelka had frequently been playing in a deeper and deeper position. It is, with the benefit of hindsight, hardly a major revelation that he should be criticised – there weren’t that many players in the team that didn’t warrant criticism at half-time during the match, after all. According to France Football, Domenech’s criticism was offered in a “firm and aggravated, but polished tone”, but Anelka’s considered response will probably now go down as one of the definitive quotations of this particular tournament. Go fuck yourself you son of a whore. Comparisons have been drawn between...

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World Cup 2010: France 0-2 Mexico

It’s hotting up, you know. Two terrifically entertaining matches this afternoon in South Africa have continued the 2010 World Cup’s awakening from slumber, and this evening France play Mexico in Group A. France’s advancement to the finals wasn’t, of course without controversy, but there is no place in their starting eleven this evening for Ireland’s bête noire, Thierry Henry. Should he come on at any point, you will probably be able to hear the booing that will come from the other side of the Irish Sea from any point on the entire planet if you cup your ears and concentrate hard enough. Irish supporters could indulge themselves, keep the sound turned down and imagine that the green-shirted Mexican team is Ireland, should they choose to. In terms of build-up, there at least won’t be many other matches that sound as dramatic as this one. We already know just how fantastic La Marseillaise sounds when belted out at full blast over a public address system, but Mexico have something to bring to this party as well. Himno Nacional Mexicano is as appropriately jaunty as you might expect, and there is something very pleasing about the way that the Mexican supporters in the crowd hold their arms across their chests while it is being played, even if the players don’t seem to do it any more. It is small details like...

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