Current and Former French Internationals Take Aim at England

“We are frustrated because I think we played much better.  At times it was like there were 15 bodies in front of us. It was really difficult to find space.  People laugh but they played the way that Chelsea played against Barcelona.  Maybe the fans want England to play more football but if they win the tournament like that, they will be happy.” ~ Patrice Evra

Apparently Patrice Evra is frustrated at the way Hodgson’s England squad played the other day.  Is anyone else chuckling, just a little?

For those who have read past entries, I like to start off with a quotation.  Not because it makes me feel like a real journalist, because heaven knows that’s all I want out of life (where is the sarcasm button on this stupid HP keyboard…), but because it sets the mood for whether I write something nasty, upbeat, offensive, biased, or snide.  Ummm, I’ll go with the latter today.

So, let’s back up just a moment and take a look at what Monsieur Evra is really saying.

  1. France was frustrated
  2. There were too many defenders, OR they were seeing doubles, OR the defenders were just that good
  3. England made it difficult to find a clear area for France to scream a ball at Joe Hart
  4. If they want to play like Chelsea, who won the Champions League, and could win them the Euro Cup, maybe (just “maybe”) the English fans will be happy

HUH?  This is where you wish you had do-overs and mulligans when speaking with the media.  Just ridiculous.  He comes across as seeming juvenille, taking shots much like a school yard bully does when someone finally hits back.  While he is absolutely correct in saying that England made life miserable for the French attack (except when Nasri was left almost completely uncontested), what else would he expect? Should they have ignored the fact that arguably their best midfielder and certainly their best striker were sidelined, not to mention who I feel is their most stable centreback? Please.  Anyone who has turned on the telly has seen countless reports about how England’s hope rested in crowding the midfield, keeping France out of the box, and hoping for a counter or a set-piece.  Sorry Patrice, but the writing was on the wall for all to see.  Don’t tell me that no one on the French roster can turn on a television.

But Patrice isn’t the only one to take a shot at the Three Lions…

‘I was not expecting at all an English team so feeble physically.  They made no impact and were incapable of pressing their opponents.  In my opinion they will not win the European Championship, that is for certain even if they succeeded in limiting the damage in this match.’ ~ Marcel Desailly

My first instinct was match attack for attack, finding some fault in Desailly’s game to insult.  Believe me, I’m trying to stay true to my “snide” theme.  But I thought twice about attack a legend’s game – that would be stupid.  Instead, I questioned what exactly happened in the match to make him arrive at that decision.  Certainly the possibility exists that he, like Evra, has somewhat sour grapes left in his mouth after watching his former team “underachieve” (according to him, not me).  And for him to be certain of anything is just folly.  Were England really getting physically handled by the French and I just missed it entirely?  Did they concede possession that easily, or did they lose the possession match-up simply because France is better?

I took another look at the game and came to the conclusion that, yes, France did control more possession, but not because they were physically-gifted specimens.   Simply, they fielded more talent, which is why Hodgson encouraged the style of play that earned them a draw.

Just as I was really dumbfounded at how arrogant and childish these players were coming across, along came the perfect conclusion to my short diatribe.

“In football, the team that defends the most can win, it doesn’t happen in other sports.  We controlled the game for 70 minutes.  There were 20 minutes in England’s favour but that was more down to France’s weakness.” ~ Laurent Blanc, France Manager

I don’t even know where to start, or if I even need to.  So England did nothing good, there was only a momentary French lapse.  Asinine and arrogant, as simple as that.  So, in American football, a strong defence won’t win?  In hockey, a strong goaltender and defence can’t shut down a potent attack?  A basketball team can’t win the NBA Championships playing in a defensive system?

Perhaps they should abandon their gameplan to make it fairer for their opponents?  Sheesh.

…until tomorrow, lads.