Fiji Time: 8:26 PM on Wednesday 24 August

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

France to bring back flair and passion at World Cup

Source: Fresno Bee
Saturday, April 12, 2014

PARIS - Winning back the trust of the fans has proved to be a long and difficult process for France following the training ground strike that shamed the nation at the last World Cup.

The incredible scenes of joy at the final whistle when France beat Ukraine 3-0 in October - overturning a 2-0 deficit from the first leg — underlined just how much this meant to long-suffering fans.

France's display on that tense night will go down in the nation's football folklore, and rightly so. It was full of the flair, passion and sheer exuberance once a hallmark of the team that won the 1998 World Cup, the 2000 European Championship and reached the World Cup final in 2006.

As the Stade de France crowd sang at the final whistle, the players joined in and unity was restored. Now, France heads to Brazil with relatively little pressure in the role of dangerous outsider.

France failed to win a game four years ago in South Africa and scored only one goal. This time it stands a good chance of winning Group E ahead of Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras, and avoiding a possible second-round encounter with Argentina.

Following the retirement of Zinedine Zidane after the 2006 final, France lacked leadership and invention. The team was a fading force in South Africa, with Thierry Henry on his last legs, and others like Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka failing to live up to their reputations.

The current side looks far more cohesive and team spirit has genuinely been restored under coach Didier Deschamps, who has players approaching peak form.

Striker Karim Benzema is finally fulfilling his potential and has been superb for Real Madrid in recent weeks, while 21-year-old Paul Pogba is one of the most highly coveted midfielders in world football. Add the creative spark of Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, the tenacious midfield tackling of Blaise Matuidi and the crisp passing of Yohan Cabaye and France has enough quality to threaten most teams.








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.63860.6196
JPY 50.258647.2586
GBP 0.37360.3656
EUR 0.43730.4253
NZD 0.68500.6520
AUD 0.65270.6277
USD 0.49650.4795

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 24th August 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Ryan vouches for Kolinisau as coach
  2. No.1 of 87
  3. Call of rugby duty
  4. A perfect birthday gift
  5. 61 take severance package
  6. Be thankful, says Epi
  7. New departure lounge
  8. Police probe allegations of water poisoning
  9. Konrote: Fiji faces shortage of skilled workforce
  10. Strike out rejection

Top Stories this Week

  1. Ardent fan escorted out of celebrations Sunday (21 Aug)
  2. The woman behind Ryan Saturday (20 Aug)
  3. Brawl duo in remand Thursday (18 Aug)
  4. God — is he dead? Maybe, but not Osea Kolinisau's Sunday (21 Aug)
  5. 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurs in Fiji Monday (22 Aug)
  6. Ryan confirms decision to leave Fiji Sunday (21 Aug)
  7. Taliga eyes Tokyo Tuesday (23 Aug)
  8. Unofficial flag bearer Friday (19 Aug)
  9. 7s top job Tuesday (23 Aug)
  10. Ryan's term Thursday (18 Aug)