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Faroe Islands vs. France: Preview

Take the Faroe Islands lightly at your peril. Ever since Irish manager Brian Kerr was appointed head coach in April earlier this year, the Islanders have put embarrassing drubbings like their 8-1 defeat to Yugoslavia or their 7-0 loss to Norway behind them. Kerr has transformed the side into a tough unit, difficult to break down and battling for every ball. So far in this campaign they have amassed only one point from possible fifteen, but they have conceded just seven goals and nicked a point off Austria, demonstrating their rapid improvement under Kerr.

But they don’t have a hope in hell of getting a result against France, right?

Wrong. France have had a relatively shaky campaign and currently lie in second place in group 7, eight points behind Serbia (though France do have two games in hand). Les Blues were humbled 3-1 by Austria, the same team Faroe Islands got a point of, and also failed to beat Romania. Under pressure manager Raymond Domenech also has a number of injuries to deal with; influential winger Franck Ribery is out whilst his most likely replacement, Samir Nasri, is also injured. Nasri’s Arsenal teammate Gael Clichy is another absentee, as is Jean-Alain Boumsong. Thierry Henry is not in the squad after failing to recover from his Achilles injury.

He might be a fantastic footballer, but I think it’s safe to say that Franck Ribery won’t be getting any of David Beckham’s modelling contracts anytime soon.

Reported Arsenal target Patrick Viera has been left out of the squad, with his place likely to be taken by Lassan Diarra. (The gloriously named) Rod Fanni will start in defence but won’t play in front of ‘keeper Yohan Pele, who is injured and thus left out of Domenech’s squad.

Fortunately Brian Kerr has no real injuries to deal with. Nearly all of his squad are part-time footballers, though he is able to field a few professionals, one of these being Manchester City’s young goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen. He probably won’t feature though, as Kerr favours the more experienced Jakup Mikkelsen.

The Toftir Stadium, where the game will take place. Let’s hope both sides keep their free-kicks down otherwise the ballboy’s will have a job getting the ball back.

The game probably won’t be a particularly skillful, sexy encounter but should be fascinating nevertheless. Whilst many fans and pundits still remain ignorant to the threat the Faroe Islands possess, Raymond Domenech will be fully aware of his oppositions potential and will in no way take them lightly. Faroe Islands won’t qualify for the World Cup, but remain the joker of the pack in group 7, and France will have to be at the peak of their game to emerge with three points.




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