Tuesday, June 13, 2006

France takes the field

Thus the team I root for is finally playing in a few hours. I am not very optimist on their long run perspective, but I think France should make it through this first round, more than likely winning their group.

This being said...

Some of the stars are still from the 1998 brilliant victory (they won all of their game whereas Brazil had lost one in the first round!). This was already bad in 2002 as French players seemed more preoccupied about their European clubs and how much money their legs could make them. As a consequence their was a palpable sense of "I really do not care, I just do not want to hurt my income" in Japan. I cannot really blame them. The French team is 90% French minority, perhaps the team least representative of its country streets. Why should they be patriotic when their own country has so many integration problems and loves them only as long as they win? Compare the US team listening its national anthem and the French listening to La Marseillaise...

But times are changing. In a world cup where there is a Brazilian naturalized Japanese citizen to play in the Rising Sun National team the French are somewhat looking more mainstream as years go by. In fact some of them are taking very seriously their role of country symbol. Zidane who was rumored to not participate in the Cup decided to make it its career end. He still has enough stamina and shape to have a great role, if he knows to take enough rest. More importantly, he will not care if he gets exhausted before the European league season (read: Real Madrid indentured worker), or if he gets hurt. This time more than ever he is running for France who needs another hero more than ever.

The rest of the team is a mixed bag. If Henry seems to have reached an impressive maturity, age is starting to reach him too. Barthez, the fabulous French goalie, might not see much action as age is definitively on him. Younger Cisse loss has the team worried. But Cisse has been too mercurial for my taste and the Lyon surprise replacement, Govou, could be a pleasant change.

But then again in 1998 few thought that France could win the way it won (no ball made it through the French gates except on penalty rounds). And it went on two years later to win the EuroCup in the Benelux as brilliantly, just to collapse ignominiously the next two major events. What will happen this time is a true mystery. But one thing is certain: if they do not beat Switzerland by 2, the winner of the Cup will come from another group.

As for the other games of the day? Forgive me if they are irrelevant for me: today only Zizou and Henry hold my breath. Let Quico deal with these games.


Blogger Francisco said...

Hey, Djibril Cissé BROKE HIS LEG during a training game against China two days before the tournament started. Such bad luck!

9:01 AM  
Blogger Elízabeth said...

Today, I'll cheer for France and Croatia.
I know.. Brazil is the favorite.. but I'm tired off them (hasta cuando!)

9:52 AM  
Blogger Una Venezuela para todos said...

the french are getting again a hard time to get a goal.... don´t ask me why, it seems they play very good but no soul at all.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Una Venezuela para todos said...

I will change the picture the caminata is over...

1:39 PM  

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