Euro 2012: A French disappointment
France’s European journey ends with a quarter-final loss against the almighty Spaniards, as Laurent Blanc’s team fails to provide a challenge to the reigning world and European champions.
Looking back at the match, it seems as though the French went down without putting up a legitimate fight. Despite the fact that they played against a Spanish team which has dazzled fans with its fluent play for the past four years, the French do not deserve much praise for last night’s performance. They lacked the desire and the fighting spirit which is a key factor for anyone who tries to beat Spain. Even though the players did not perform as needed, the man on the sideline deserves just as much scrutiny, if not more.
Laurent Blanc and his coaching staff made several tactical mistakes regarding last night’s encounter. Playing with five defenders and a defensively minded midfielder proved to be a costly move, as the French were on the back foot throughout the match, spending most of the time in their own penalty area.
The reason why I say the French went down without a fight is simply because they have so much talent and ability in their squad, and apart from a few brilliant moves by Ribery, we saw none of that yesterday. Although Spain deserve a lot of credit for their performance, we have to take into account that France were being considered as one of the quite favourites before the Euro. But with a performance like that they are certainly not worthy of going any further than the quarter final.
The one area which can cause the Spanish some problems, as we have seen in the past, are counter attacks. But with only Ribery and Benzema providing the attacking threat, it is extremely difficult to break through the Spanish defensive line. Blanc should have played Nasri from the first minute, which would have added some speed and creativity to their game. Putting six players in the defensive line at all times, made it very difficult for the French to even set up a counter attack.
It has been made clear that you cannot beat the Spainsh in their own passing game, but the French should have applied more pressure on the ball, and constantly seek for counter attack opportunities. That is why I am a firm believer that Germany are capable of beating Spain, if they do eventually meet. The Germans have a solid back four, a world class keeper and a lethal counter attack, spearheaded by Özil and Schweinsteiger.
Perhaps their recent confrontation in the locker room was not so innocent, and the French players were simply not as motivated before the game, but these are merely speculations. What is certain though is that Les Bleus simply were not up to the task against Spain. The inaccurate tactical preparation, as well as their false mentality and lack of hunger all resulted in their exit from the tournament.