Posted in Les Bleus

WCQ: Deschamps calls up Laporte

Deschamps revealed his 23-man squad to face Bulgaria and Netherlands in upcoming WCQs. Giroud is not on the list given his injury. I love seeing Areola’s name and Laporte gets a well-deserved call-up. DD also recalled Mathieu.

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola 

DefendersBacary Sagna, Djibril Sidibé, Raphaël Varane, Aymeric Laporte, Laurent Koscielny, Jérémy Mathieu, Layvin Kurzawa, Lucas Digne 

Midfielders: N’Golo Kanté, Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye, Dimitri Payet 

Attackers: Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Kingsley Coman, Nabil Fékir, Anthony Martial

Posted in Les Bleus

Deschamps name French squad for upcoming matches

Didier Deschamps chose his team for the upcoming matches against Italy (a friendly) and Belarus (WC 2018 qualifier). Hugo Lloris is injured and was not selected. He decided not to select Benzema because “now is not the right time.” I think DD might be under pressure from the FFF. I may never know, but he is not 100% in charge when it comes to choosing his players. On the brighter side, I am delighted with the call-up of Alphonse Areola, the future of French goalkeeping. I’m glad to have Varane back with the squad, but Ben Arfa should’ve been called up as well.

Goalkeepers: Steve Mandanda, Benoit Costil, Alphonse Areola.

Defenders: Sebastien Corchia, Lucas Digne, Laurent Koscielny, Raphael Varane, Adil Rami, Samuel Umtiti, Djibril Sidibé, Layvin Kurzawa.

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye, Ngolo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Dimitri Payet, Paul Pogba, Moussa Sissoko.

Forwards: Nabil Fékir, Andre-Pierre Gignac,  Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial.

Posted in Euro 2016 France, Les Bleus

C’est magnifique! Griezmann and Lloris takes Les Bleus to the final

Germany v France 0-2

Last evening, France showed up and proved doubters wrong.

France beat their boogie team Germany, 2-0 with both goals coming from Griezmann. However, I commend the entire team and Deschamps for putting in 100%. I’ll never forget Griezmann’s face from the 2014 WC when Germany eliminated us 1-0. He was inconsolable so who better than for this little bean to grab the two goals? 

Hugo Lloris played a MAJOR goal in this match. He kept Germany out many times (down to the very last) with stunning saves. Umtiti and Koscielny had their posts well-covered. Evra and Sissoko were on fire!

The Germans played well, but the evening belonged to the French who will play the finals against a determined Portugal on Sunday.

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!

Germany v France - Semi Final: UEFA Euro 2016

Posted in Euro 2016 France, Les Bleus

Dimitri Payet on Deschamps and scoring goals

France v Albania - Group A: UEFA Euro 2016

On scoring goals …

Since the start of the tournament I have felt really good. I am feeling confident and that’s allowed me to play without pressure and to put in good performances. In all honesty, the goal that will really stick in my mind is the one I scored against Romania. It was a really difficult game and the goal came in the final minute, so it was really a great relief. It will remain one of my most unforgettable memories.

On his tears after the Romania strike …

I’ve come a long way. A few months ago, I was far from certain to play in the tournament. I’ve worked very hard and had a really good season with my club, despite having had to sit out two months through injury. I think it was because of all the hard work that the emotions came through when I scored.

On being a free-kick maestro …

It’s not something you are born with. There’s definitely a lot of work that goes into it. When you score free-kicks, it is because you’ve worked hard on them. I try to be strong in that department as I have been given the responsibility, and I am well aware how important they can be in a tight game.

France v Albania - Group A: UEFA Euro 2016

On Didier Deschamps …

When things are going well on the pitch, it is because I know I have the coach behind me. The fact he has won everything going is the advantage that he brings us. He knows exactly what it takes to win, as he has been there before and we know how precious his advice is, and how much more so that will be as the tournament goes on.

On where he can improve …

I can still get better. If I was going to be picky, then I would say to myself that my shot that hit the bar against the Swiss shouldn’t have hit the woodwork – it should have gone in.

On being regarded as France’s best player …

No, it’s not me. People will still talk about Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba. We saw them in the game against Switzerland, and they are the ones to be counted on. We need those two players. They can guide us through and deep into the competition.

Yohan Cabaye on Payet …

Dimitri has been our best player in these opening games. He scored in the first and the second games and he’s our main player, I think. He’s playing unbelievably well, his football is amazing to watch and to play with him is something special.

*** Interview via uefa.com

*** pics via Zimbio & Google Images

Meantime, watch this wicked beauty Payet scored in training:

Posted in Euro 2016 France, Les Bleus

Hugo Lloris to equal Didier Deschamps’ record as French captain

When France meets Switzerland today in their last group clash, Hugo Lloris will equal Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus record of 54 matches as captain. How does DD feel about this? At the presser he jokingly remarked:

“I won’t name him captain because I don’t I want him to equal my record, so I’ll pick someone else.”

After laughing a bit, he told EURO2016.com:

“Of course, I’m only joking. Hugo does a really good job as captain and I’m delighted for him.”

France v Romania - Group A: UEFA Euro 2016

Lloris was first handed the captain armband in November 2010, when France met England in a friendly. Ahead of Euro 2012, Laurent Blanc handed him the role on a permanent basis. I call Lloris the Quiet Leader or the Quiet Man in the Gloves because he exudes a calm authority although I saw him get angry once at Lyon. He doesn’t need to shout to get his point across. I’ve watched him come up from the ranks of OGC Nice to where he is now. I’ve watched him grow over the years and it’s been a pleasure growing alongside him. I think many people know by now that Lloris is my UTMOST FAVORITE GOALIE OF ALL TIME.

What does Lloris think about his captaincy?

“I became captain very young. I needed to learn and learn fast. During the last two years I’ve also been captain at Tottenham, which has helped a lot. I feel good in my role and the most important thing is to feel respected by your teammates. Performing for the team helps a lot. As captain, you also have some responsibilites off the pitch.”

The skipper can reach 78 caps this evening, just 9 shy of Fabian Barthez’s national-high as a goalkeeper. However, Lloris is not one to think of personal records:

“I’m always proud to represent my country, but in the end all these stats are just numbers. At the moment I’m not paying attention to this – maybe at the end of my career. At the moment I’m fully focused on the tournament with the team rather than my personal record.”

Lloris has an objective in mind for this evening:

“Our first target is to win the match. And finishing top is something we have to achieve because we do have a certain sattus within the group and we need to meet people’s expectations. We need to complete the job.

“The most important thing is to win the match, which helps to breed confidence.”

Posted in Euro 2016 France, Les Bleus, My Footy Stuff/Banter

Should we rest Payet on Sunday?

Many fans feel that Didier Deschamps should rest Payet on Sunday when France meets Switzerland in their last group match now that France has qualified for the next round. 

But Payet is in his element and I bet he is looking forward to playing on Sunday. Deschamps don’t need to start him. He can come off the bench in the second half because we’ll definitely need/rely upon him for the round of 16. It doesn’t matter if we’ve already qualified for the next round, we’ll be playing for all 9 points.

Dimitri Payet, is simply, the most exciting player at the Euro to watch. I am super proud of him because when most fans were doubting him, I stood by him. I am happy that he is enjoying this tournament. 

Allez Payet!

Posted in Euro 2016 France, Les Bleus

France v Albania: Les Bleus leave it late as they qualify for round of 16

The starting XI:

Martial and Coman replaced Griezmann and Pogba in the starting eleven, but did this bode well?

France was all over Albania from the get-go with Giroud missing from close range after a delicious Payet free kick in the early stages. It was one of those nights for Giroud, who went on to miss several shots that could’ve seen him bag four goals by the end of the game. But it won’t matter because Griezmann and Payet proved to be the heroes on this frustrating evening as Les Bleus went on to beat Albania 2-0 to claim the first spot in the round of 16.

Although we’re through to the round of 16, I was not impressed with our display last evening. We fought hard to win the game and I think it is absolutely ridiculous to call it lucky. We weren’t lucky. We didn’t produce goals out of nothing. We worked for them. We had 8 goals on target compared to Albania’s 3 and 11 off-target compared to Albania’s 4.

I know we struggled at some point, but it’s not like we weren’t making an effort to win the game. In the first half, the team was sometimes sluggish, but in the second half, they were much better. Whatever Deschamps told them at half-time definitely worked. And he’ll know what to tell them given that he captained France to tournament victories at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

As for Deschamps leaving Griezmann and Pogba on the bench, I think it was a good decision as it got them all fired up. Griezmann especially. He almost always seems to score whenever he comes off the bench. However, Deschamps need to nail it. Experimentation time is gone. This is the real thing and we need to win early, not late. 

Pogba slipped a lot though! 😛

Griezmann calms worries in the 89th minute. It was Adil Rami’s first ever attempted cross and Antoine got on the end of it and showed ’em who was the boss.

Payet put them to bed a few minutes later during additional stoppage time after Paul Pogba delivered a diagonal pass to Gignac, who slipped on the left, but the ball managed to find Payet. 

A few stats:

^ This was the 5th meeting between France and Albania and Patrice Evra’s 75th cap.

^ Payet was Man of the Match for the second time again

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!