By Shai Mamou,
Saturday evening, France faced Romania for the third week of the Euro 2012 qualifications (Group D). There were many concerns before the game about the capacity of Laurent Blanc’s guys to deal with the weird atmosphere of the Stade de France. I mean, no one in France has forgotten the episode of the bus and the amazing strike during the World Cup in South Africa. Many fans are still angry and can’t possibly forget so fast. The loss against Belarus in September (0-1) showed that this team played with fear and an obvious lack of confidence. If the promising win in Bosnia (2-0) last month made people hope for a better future, people can clearly be reassured after tonight’s game. If everything was not perfect, the determination and the desire to win were visible. Les Bleus beat Romania (2-0) and took the lead of the group in the same time, what more do you want?
Let’s admit it; the Romanian selection has not the same amount of talent than ten years ago. Choosing to proceed by counter attacks, Lucescu failed to reproduce the feat of his Belarusian colleague. France dominated territorially and technically. Once again, Alou Diarra ate his opponents and was an excellent launch pad alongside Yann M’Vila. The young midfielder of Rennes was less sparkling than he was at the previous games but this guy’s maturity is still bluffing. The return of Samir Nasri in the midfield was quite positive; the ex-kid of Marseille brought a technical caution and could have scored once or twice, especially during the second half. The defence made a serious game, even if Clichy and Réveillère could have done better. The axis Rami-Mexès starts to show a real collusion, an important factor for the future. If the general performance of the team was quite good, the score was still at 0-0 after 83 minutes! Here came the lesson of coaching given by Laurent Blanc (photo
Replacing Valbuena, Nasri and Benzema by Rémy, Gourcuff and Payet, the former manager of Bordeaux decided to play the offensive card and it was just as well he did. All the substitutes were decisive in the money time! After a splendid long pass of Alou Diarra, Loïc Rémy got rid of Chivu with an explosive run and relieved his team with a nice crossed shot (83d). And in the last minutes of this reunion with the Stade de France, the neophyte Payet amazingly dribbled his opponent before giving a delightful pass to Yoann Gourcuff who just had to finish the job from a close range (90th). The offensive midfielder of Saint-Etienne undoubtedly impressed for his first appearance with the French jersey… This turn of event just showed how Laurent Blanc is a better coach than Raymond Domenech. Now let’s hope the Renaissance of “l’Equipe de France” is not an illusion and they have to confirm it no later than Tuesday against the weak team of Luxembourg. Every other result that a win would be considered as a professional misconduct…