Euro 2016: France

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Playing on home ground and darlings of many football hipsters due to a wealth of uber-talented young attackers, can they actually meld into a tough and cohesive side?

My guess at a starting 11:

Martial---Giroud---Griezmann
--- ---Pogba---Matuidi----------
--------------Kante----------------
Evra--Koscielny-Rami---Sagna
--------------Loris------------------

-We could just as easily see Coman or Payet on one of the wings. One of the issues here is that its tough to leave out Griezmann given how great he has been the last few years, but he is most effective playing as a second striker, not a winger. He played on the wing at Real Sociedad a fair amount but he has been excellent through the middle at Atletico, yet there is no position like that in France's 4-3-3.

-That midfield is beastly in terms of work rate and physicality but low on passers. If they concede first against a weaker team, do they have the players to really unlock defenses massed behind the ball (bringing on Payet, who has been mainly played as a winger by France, as an attacking midfielder might be one option there)? What will happen if they face a team like Spain or Germany with a midfield that is much more technical? A player like Cabaye might be a better option as the holding DM in certain situations.

-Their defense was their weakest unit and has been further hurt by injuries to players like Varane and Zouma. I don't mind the Rami-Koscielny partnership but those fullbacks are ancient and the defensive depth is pretty thin if anybody gets hurt or has a card suspension. As noted above, France is unlikely to dominate possession against the better, more technical teams so the defense will have to hold up for extended periods while the team looks for opportunities to counter. I'm somewhat skeptical of their ability to do so.

-All in all, France deserve to be considered one of the favorites but a lot of that has to do with playing at home, a favorable draw (its quite likely they won't have to play anybody very good until the semis), and the fact that no other team looks particularly imposing.
 
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Cellar-Door

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I'd bet Payet starts, he's been obscenely good in the runup games. Also he's the second best player in the squad after Pogba.
 

Dummy Hoy

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That back four seems a bit shaky, but a whole bundle of fun up front.

I'll be stunned if Payet doesn't start.
 

Dummy Hoy

Angry Pissbum
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Martial over Payet is madness...Griezmann you have a good argument.

I'd put Kante over Martial too.
 

Cellar-Door

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I was slightly joking about Payet, but he's a better player than Martial. Also he's maybe the 3rd best set piece guy in the world right now which is a huge weapon in a tournament.
 

Zomp

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For the left wing position I can't believe you guys would prefer Payet to Martial.
Now if we're talking switching up the formation maybe I could see it but Martial has to start on the left. Payet is more creative but there is no way he can beat people 1v1 like Tony.
 

teddykgb

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I think the question was who is France's best non Pogba. And it's rather obviously Griezmann. After that I think it's Payet orKante based on current form. Or Matuidi. Martial falls in somewhere after that. It may make sense from a formation perspective to play him on the left but if I'm managing France I'm doing everything I can to get Payet on the pitch
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Yeah I was writing hurriedly from the phone. I'd say Griezmann is the best player on France and I certainly rate him higher than Payet. Martial may not be as good (although I'd say it's at least close) but he's a better option on the wing, which is his natural role. Payet is really a 10 and playing a bunch of guys out of position to force them into the team has its pitfalls.
 

Zomp

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My problem for the squad is while the midfield could start for Beast FC, I think its limited with Kante AND Matuidi starting. Most of us here are Premiership based so I think we're a bit biased, and even though Kante is in incredible form I'd drop him for Payet and have Matuidi be the holding midfielder.

As far as France's best player, Pogba and Griezmann are in a class of their own and then the rest would be up for debate.
 

Schnerres

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France showed some of its weaknesses. But they didn't quit and Payet showed his class as usual. France should play more balls to Payet. Credit to Romania though. They did not go away and caused a ton of problems for France.
That´s true and to me, France got too much love in here (maybe because as well as me, nobody knows Romania´s guys :) ).
France had much more skilled players, but they didn´t play like a team. They threatened, but they didn´t shoot on goal between their two goals. To me, they didn´t show a clear idea how they are playing as a team (defending and counter-attacking, possession-style, attack through the wings, whatever), it´s just that they attacked through their skilled players like Pogba, Payet, Giroud as a finisher, Griezmann was a little bit off for me. Kanté had a great game in DM. Martial and Coman showed nothing to deserve a starting spot.
They didn´t show any attacking flow as a team with Evra or Sagna constantly playing the overtaking part on the outside (Evra at one time ran in Martial´s lane in the 2nd half). OTOH, they Romanians played as a team. They defended more organized (you could see they went back as a unit with the leading striker attacking 5-10m ahead of the middle-line) and the rest sat back in the 2nd half. Then they tried to counter, as they were really tired later in the game. But there were really big gaps in midfield for them, as France´s attacking mids (Payet, Pogba/Martial, Griezmann/Coman) just didn´t do enough to help Kanté/Matuidi to defend the counters, IMO.
Their defense will have lots of trouble, especially in later stages, if they won´t commit to defending and their offense just will run into the same trouble against their other opponents (Romania received 2 goals against in 10 qualifying matches - Albania received 5 in 8 matches - and Switzerland received 8 in 10 matches), if they don´t develop a real team strategy and just rely on pure strength and skill.

Besides those points: The first goal was a foul from Giroud, who pushed aside the arm of the keeper (no intent, but still a foul) while going to the ball. The keeper then had no chance to go the ball, as his hand was pushed off from the ball. The 2nd goal was a foul from Evra, obviously, but before the penalty-foul, it was a foul from the Romanian No.9, who underran some French guy right at the box and the ball bounced up again. Both those points were brought up in German aftershow, keeper Olli Kahn mentioned both and former ref Urs Meier agreed. I have to admit, the first one really looked like the keeper went out with less power/intent to get the ball, but he was pushed off, so he looked bad in real-time. And on the penalty, I was just looking out for Romania to score, but it was also a foul, true.

So, for France and Deschamps, maybe it was just the combination of the jitters before the opening match, playing a really tough defending opponent and not having played an official match in two years since their knockout loss to Germany in Brazil. So far, they got the three points and that´s what should be all they wanted.
 

Infield Infidel

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