Preview – World Cup Playoff: Ukraine v France

Preview – World Cup Playoff: Ukraine v France

In football the phrase “must-win” can be bandied about far too often. People look at matches and they think that if team X loses then that’ll be that for them, when often this is actually untrue. This is certainly applicable when considering the upcoming World Cup Qualifying play-off between Ukraine and France in Kiev. While the French national team are clearly under immense pressure, a draw, or even a narrow loss, would not be the…

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Valbuena & Pogba: French football’s bright lights set to shine

Valbuena & Pogba: French football’s bright lights set to shine

Just over three years ago on the 22nd June 2010, France were humiliated by South Africa in Les Bleus’ final group game of the 2010 World Cup by two goals to one. It capped a miserable campaign for the French national team who had seen incidents such as the players’ revolt, as the team refused to train following Nicolas Anelka’s exclusion. At that point Mathieu Valbuena was a virtually unused member of the squad, his…

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Deschamps and France: Searching for an identity

Deschamps and France: Searching for an identity

It’s no exaggeration to say that France has some soul-searching to do.  The World Cup qualifying play-offs are looming large on a sea that is anything but calm.  The qualifying campaign has been fairly efficient considering France was matched with trophy-magnet Spain, but it has hardly been inspiring stuff.  Going into their most recent game against Belarus, Les Bleus had scored 8 goals and conceded 4 in 6 games—safe to say neither the defensive nor…

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No thrills, No attitude, Just Thuram

No thrills, No attitude, Just Thuram

We all have that one player we always wanted to be, the one player we always followed, the one player who made us fall in love with football, in my case, French football.  For me, that player was the great Lilian Thuram. His CV speaks for itself.  His career spanned over 15 years and took him from France, to Italy, and to Spain.  He has France’s record for international caps. He is a World Cup…

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“Take advantage of your 20s”: an open letter to Florian Thauvin

On Thursday, Cédric Rouquette, editor-in-chief of eurosport.fr, published a superb open letter to Florian Thauvin, who is currently on strike and refusing to train with new club Lille, in order to engineer a move, preferably to Marseille. Cédric has kindly given us permission to translate and publish his letter:   Dear Florian. This is the first time that I’m writing to you, but I suggest that we “tutoie” each other. I think that you were…

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Beware the explosive talents of Paul-Georges Ntep

Beware the explosive talents of Paul-Georges Ntep

Following a strong 2012/13 campaign, young Auxerre attacker Paul-Georges Ntep suddenly came onto the radar of a couple of Ligue 1 clubs. Nantes were one name said to be keeping a ‘close eye’ on him during the summer but they didn’t pounce. Maybe they wished they had now, because Ntep has started this season in smoking-hot form, so much so that Premier League clubs like West Ham United are interested in buying him. The Hammers…

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Anthony’s not-so-Modeste claims for France?

I’m going to put it out there. Anthony Modeste should be part of France coach Didier Deschamps’ squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Belarus when he names it on Thursday August 29. One year ago this notion would have been scoffed at by many, not least a certain member of the French Football Weekly crew, who wagered that he wouldn’t score more than five goals. But after a surprisingly prolific season on loan from…

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The Philippe Auclair Interview: Part III – The Future of Ligue 1

In the third and final part of the interview, Philippe and Jeremy talk about Arsenal’s current contingent of Wenger, Koscielny, Giroud, Diaby and Sanogo, about the France Under-20s’ World Cup victory and les Bleus’ future prospects, and about his expectations for the coming Ligue 1 season. JS: Wenger for PSG? PA: I don’t believe in this PSG thing at all. I can’t see it happening with Arsene. If it happens, every ounce of respect that I have for…

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