Posts Tagged ‘Raymond Domenech’
“They say it’s because I’m a sexy boy. The English are crazy!”
- Yohan Cabaye, on the ‘Dreamboat’ nickname bestowed upon him by Newcastle’s fans
“Behind the ‘big guns’ like Chelsea or Manchester [United], there’s also Sunderland or Wolverhampton. French players who are used to getting on the ball end up watching it fly over their heads for 90 minutes.”
- Marseille sporting director José Anigo has some words of advice for any budding Ligue 1 talents dreaming of plying their trade in the Premier League
“If you want us to just stick it in the box like I’ve seen Stoke City do, you’ll have to change the coach. I forbid it.”
- Rennes coach Frédéric Antonetti shares his thoughts on the football doctrine advocated by Tony Pulis
“Without wanting to be unkind, it’s difficult when there are only four of you defending. Sometimes you feel like you’re on your own. When you watch Barça, everyone defends – even Messi!”
- Laurent Koscielny feels a bit exposed in the Arsenal back four
“Sometimes I tell jokes and Joe Cole and I look at each other and we’re the only ones laughing.”
- Vincent Enyeama on the language barrier in the Lille changing room
“Bon match pour… my team – mon équipe – et… I’m very happy!”
- Ambushed by Canal+’s touchline reporter Laurent Paganelli, Joe Cole has a stab at his first interview in the language of his new homeland after Lille’s 3-1 win over Lyon
“Once again I’m attacked by Jean-Michel Larqué. I hope with all my heart I don’t end up like him after my career, but there’s no chance of that because I’m not an idiot.”
- Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Jérémie Janot has a pop at 63-year-old television pundit Jean-Michel Larqué, who had criticised him for letting in two late goals at Lens
- Aly Cissokho’s considered response to a supporter who told him to “go and join Arles-Avignon” during a Lyon training session in April
“Although the score was already 3-0, he’d been taking the piss out of us with the ball for a few minutes, dribbling past his opponent and then waiting so he could dribble past him again. It’s a lack of respect. Even his Lille team-mates said he was going too far.”
- Nancy captain André Luiz takes a dim view of Eden Hazard’s showboating
“Marseille come up to Paris to fuck PSG!”
- Microphone in hand, match-winner Taye Taiwo gets a bit carried away during the Coupe de la Ligue post-match celebrations by leading the OM fans in a chorus of one of their favourite chants
“It was a good response to people who don’t know football. It’ll make them shut their big mouths.”
- Modibo Maiga relishes his brace in a 3-0 defeat of Toulouse after stumbling into the viewfinder of the Sochaux boo boys
“At that moment, I told myself that they’d gone mad and didn’t realise. Today I know that I was wrong: they knew exactly what they were doing. They even closed the curtains on the bus to hide themselves from the cameras… With hindsight, I see them above all as a bunch of thoughtless brats.”
- Raymond Domenech is still struggling to let go of the 2010 World Cup
A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.
One by one, the pack closed in and Lille could do nothing but watch. The fixture computer having scheduled their home game with Toulouse for Sunday night, the league leaders had no choice but to watch as first Marseille, then Lyon and then Rennes whittled away their lead. By the time Lille took to the field at Stadium Lille-Métropole, they were just two points clear.
The pressure was on, then, but Rudi Garcia’s side produced a quietly efficient performance to win 2-0. A badly deteriorating playing surface did not make life easy, but the visitors obligingly evened things up by giving the ball away in dangerous areas with a frequency that – in the first half at least – bordered on the suicidal. Gervinho scrambled home to put Lille 1-0 up in the 38th minute and teed up substitute Túlio de Melo for the second goal in injury time.
It meant that Lille ended the weekend with their five-point lead intact. Rennes are now second after an equally straightforward 2-0 defeat of Nice. Marseille moved up to third, a point behind Rennes, after André-Pierre Gignac’s impressive double saw them come from behind to win 2-1 at Sochaux. Lyon also had to overcome the concession of an early goal, weathering a first-half storm at Saint-Etienne to record a 4-1 victory that left Jean-Michel Aulas beaming.
Paris Saint-Germain were the only title pretenders who failed to win, a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Lens dropping them to fourth, level on points with OL. Bordeaux’s mini-revival came to an end, as Romain Hamouma’s last-minute header saw them fall 2-1 at home to Caen. There were also wins for Caen’s fellow strugglers Nancy and Monaco, who won 3-1 against Auxerre to leave the erstwhile Champions League participants in 17th place and without a win in 14 games across all competitions.
Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Arles-Avignon 0-0 Montpellier, Bordeaux 1-2 Caen, Monaco 3-1 Lorient, Nancy 3-1 Auxerre, PSG 0-0 Lens, Sochaux 1-2 Marseille, Saint-Etienne 1-4 Lyon; Sunday: Rennes 2-0 Nice, Valenciennes 3-0 Brest, Lille 2-0 Toulouse
The World Cup
“As I’m an optimistic person, I’m going to say that I have a 100 per cent chance [of going to the World Cup].”
- Pride comes before a fall for Patrick Vieira
“I read the letter. I don’t think the players wrote it. It was typed out on a computer and there were no spelling mistakes.”
- French Football Federation general secretary Henri Monteil lets the world know exactly what he thinks about the intellect of the average footballer after reading the statement released by the France squad explaining their training boycott
“Go on Yoann, you’ll be alone on the pitch. Everyone will see you and you’ll be a media star.”
- What Franck Ribéry allegedly (emphasis on the allegedly) told Yoann Gourcuff on the France team bus after he threatened to break the training strike
“He sullied my name without trying to find out what happened. Lilian thinks he’s the new coach, the president of the federation and the president of the [French] Republic… Walking around with books on slavery in glasses and a hat does not turn you into Malcolm X.”
- Patrice Evra on Lilian Thuram, after the France 1998 stalwart called for him to be banned from the national side for life
“They’re real clowns, these people. I’m dying with laughter!”
- Nicolas Anelka pours scorn on the unprecedented 18-match international ban handed to him by the FFF
“You should see him in the changing room: he sings French rap. He’s even learnt the song the Bordeaux fans chant to wind me up: ‘Oh, Diawara, go fuck yourself/You have got no loyalty!’”
- Souleymane Diawara on Lucho González’s successful integration in the Marseille changing room
“The baguette. It’s amazing how good it is, the baguette.”
- Lyon’s Argentine attacking midfielder César Delgado, when asked what he would remember most fondly from his time in France
“Steve makes me laugh with his fake Marseille accent. A black guy from Normandy with a Marseille accent – it sounds wrong to be honest!”
- Guillaume Hoarau upbraids former Le Havre team-mate Steve Mandanda for his efforts to blend in at Marseille
“We don’t talk. We played one year at Arsenal without talking. There were other people who didn’t talk to him either. The collective cause was more important, though, and we got on with things.”
- Samir Nasri lifts the lid on his (non-)relationship with former Arsenal team-mate William Gallas
At the dawn of the tournament Football Further posed ten tactical questions that the World Cup would answer. Three days after Spain’s tense extra-time victory over the Netherlands in the final, the answers to those questions reflect a tournament in which defensive rigour was overwhelmingly de riguer and tactical innovation conspicious by its rarity.
1. Will freshness or preparedness prevail in Group A?
Having played just one game in the build-up to the tournament – a 4-1 win over Israel in Montevideo on May 26 - Uruguay took control of Group A before scrapping their way to the last four for the first time since 1970. How much of that was down to their fitness, and not the obliging manner in which the big teams benignly opened up the path to the semi-finals, is debatable. Mexico played 12 preparation matches and also made it out of the group phase, while their 3-1 defeat by Argentina in the last 16 showed no discernible signs of fatigue.
2. Will France’s 4-3-3 work?
How to put this? Not only did France’s 4-3-3 fail to work, but Raymond Domenech lost all faith in it before the tournament had even started. In their opening game, a 0-0 draw with Uruguay, they reverted to their tried and tested (if not actually effective) 4-2-3-1, with Jérémy Toulalan and Abou Diaby in the holding midfield roles and Yoann Gourcuff as the playmaker. The 4-2-3-1 remained in place for the 2-0 defeat by Mexico, but this time with Franck Ribéry in the playmaking role (to which he is wholly unsuited) and Nicolas Anelka reprising his great disappearing centre-forward act until matters came to a head at half-time. It was not until the 2-1 loss to South Africa that the long-awaited 4-3-3 finally made its appearance, but by then it was already too late. Over to you, Monsieur Blanc.
With the World Cup now deliciously within reach, Football Further looks at ten tactical issues that could have a decisive influence on the outcome of the tournament.
1. Will freshness or preparedness prevail in Group A?
Attention on the tournament’s opening group is likely to focus on the travails of Raymond Domenech’s France and the efforts of South Africa to avoid becoming the first World Cup hosts not to make it beyond the first round, but both Mexico and Uruguay go into the tournament with high ambitions and two very different approaches to preparation. Mexico, like South Africa, embarked upon an exhaustive pre-tournament schedule, with coach Javier Aguirre dragging 17 players out of the Mexican championship early and overseeing no less than 12 friendly matches since the end of February, culminating in the superb 2-1 defeat of Italy in Brussels last Thursday. In the same period, Uruguay have played just once – a 4-1 win over Israel in Montevideo on May 26. Oscar Tábarez, who led La Celeste into battle at Italia 90, says he wanted to avoid tiring his players out. “This tournament is a drain,” he said. “Whoever turns up tired gets knocked out immediately. Teams with much bigger pools of players than ours, Argentina and Brazil, have lost for neglecting this aspect.” The battle of the fresh and the fit takes place on June 22, when Uruguay and Mexico will contest a potentially decisive final group game in Rustenburg.
2. Will France’s 4-3-3 work?
As discussed in detail last week, France are expected to deploy a 4-3-3 formation that they’ve worked on for only a matter of weeks after Lassana Diarra’s withdrawal forced Domenech to ditch the 4-2-3-1 that France have used since the eve of the 2006 tournament. After an encouraging 2-1 victory against Costa Rica, France drew 1-1 with Tunisia before slumping to a 1-0 defeat by China, and there are growing calls for ineffective right-winger Sidney Govou to be replaced by Arsenal central midfielder Abou Diaby, with Florent Malouda moving forward to the left wing and Franck Ribéry switching flanks to the right.
A matter of weeks before the start of the 2010 World Cup, Raymond Domenech made perhaps the most radical move of his four-year tenure as France coach by completely altering the team’s shape. When first-choice defensive midfielder Lassana Diarra was forced out of the squad by a stomach complaint linked to a genetic blood condition, Domenech scrapped the 4-2-3-1 that has been France’s default tactical system since the beginning of the last World Cup and began to experiment with a 4-3-3.
The new formation features Lyon’s Jérémy Toulalan as the sole holding midfielder, with Florent Malouda and Yoann Gourcuff on either side of him, Franck Ribéry and Sidney Govou on the flanks and either Thierry Henry or Nicolas Anelka as a lone centre forward.
France premiered the new system in their first World Cup warm-up game against Costa Rica in Lens last week and produced their most coherent attacking performance in a long time. A late strike from debutant Mathieu Valbuena, the Marseille wildcard, secured a 2-1 victory that procured a timely surge in optimism for a side that laboured through qualifying and needed one of the most controversial goals in football history to see off a resolute Republic of Ireland in the European zone qualifying play-offs.
France breathed a collective sigh of relief last week when the World Cup draw landed the national side in an eminently navigable group alongside Mexico, Uruguay and hosts South Africa. Things could have been a lot worse for Raymond Domenech’s men, but morale remains low. Any hopes of a successful tournament are tempered by fresh memories of France’s dismal qualification campaign and nowhere was their inadequacy more apparent than in their last match – the second leg of the infamous play-off victory over Ireland.
“We played poorly and it came down to a referee’s mistake, but that’s the way it went,” was the damning analysis of a French Football Federation spokesman. “The Irish were really great, they played brilliantly and we played poorly. We were awful.”
So what’s gone wrong? Thierry Henry has 51 international goals to his name, Nicolas Anelka is in the form of his life, André-Pierre Gignac scored 24 times in Ligue 1 last season and Yoann Gourcuff is widely recognised as one of Europe’s most gifted playmakers, so what prevented them from mustering any kind of sustained goal threat against the Irish?