France 0-1 Belarus: A compact Belarus side with a classic smash and grab

September 6, 2010


Eustache Le Sueur, L’Amour ordonne à Mercure d’annoncer son pouvoir à l’Univers
“A disastrous start for Laurent Blanc, in his first competitive game as France manager. Blanc had severe selection problems before the match. He was without Nicolas Anelka, Patrice Evra, Jeremy Toulalan, Franck Ribery, Yoann Gourcuff, Samir Nasri, Hatem Ben Arfa, Karim Benzema and Lassana Diarra due to injury or suspension. His starting line-up was a system that was broadly 4-4-2, with Yann M’Vila very deep ahead of the back four, and Loic Reomy dropping off Guillaume Hoarau upfront.” (Zonal Marking)

France 0 – 1 Belarus
“Laurent Blanc’s first competitive match as France coach ended in a shock defeat which deals an early blow to their Euro 2012 qualifying bid. Sergey Kisliak scored the only goal four minutes from time to punish France, who failed to capitalise after dominating possession.” (ESPN)

French Soccer Still Can’t Shake the Blues
“Nearly two months have passed since Raymond Domenech left his post as manager of the French national team. Yet anyone watching Les Bleus in their European qualifier against Belarus Friday night would be forgiven for thinking he was still around.” (WSJ)

France 0-1 Belarus – UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying – Friday, September 3, 2010
(The 90th Minute)

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Great international hat tricks

September 6, 2010

“As well as upping weekend revenue for DIY stores everywhere, the international break produced two hat-tricks — one each for Jermain Defoe (England) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Netherlands). Variety, technique, a dollop of selfishness, they all go into the mix to score a treble at this level, and competitive international hat tricks are getting harder to come by — the last three World Cups have produced about a quarter of the total produced by the first three. Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain bagged one this summer with the same cool exterior as his predecessor Gabriel Batistuta, but an international hat trick of tournament-changing magnitude, of tear-jerking quality or just of eyebrow-raising novelty is a rare thing indeed. Here’s a list of memorable ones…” (SI)


Testing times for Argentina caretaker coach Batista

September 6, 2010

“For South America’s national teams, there are no competitive matches until the Copa America next June – and that tournament is primarily a warm-up for the next set of World Cup qualifiers, which get under way soon afterwards. This, then, is a transitional time – a moment for fresh players to be tested and new coaches to be appointed.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)


Time to End Shooting Party

September 6, 2010


“When the qualification process for the 2012 European Championship gets under way Friday, it’s likely to scotch one of the most enduring clichés in all of sports: Specifically, the old adage that there are no easy games in international football. These days, it’s starting to look like there are almost no hard ones. This week’s slate of international games reads like an endless round of cakewalks and mismatches, in which the only question before kick-off is whether the final score will reach double figures.” (WSJ)


Italian fan ID card gets off to a bad start

September 6, 2010

“This the debut season of Italian football’s Tessera del Tifoso, or fans’ ID card scheme. There have been protests about the card ever since it was first mooted and plenty more have been made in the last few weeks. During the season opener at the Stadio Olimpico, a large group of Roma’s ultras remained outside the stadium, leaving an entire block of the usually chock-full Curva Sud glaringly empty. At the Serie B game between Empoli and Pescara I saw a number of the home side’s ultras choosing not to enter the ground, but instead setting up a Subbuteo table outside.” (WSC)


High Five : Five “Fun” Teams

September 6, 2010

“Some teams play to win trophies, but there are others who play for the sake of entertaining the fans. These teams rarely win titles, but they are often remembered more fondly than champions. We take a look at five such ‘fun’ teams.” (TheHardTackle)


Villa on brink of record. Or is he?

September 6, 2010

“It must be tough being David Villa at times. Not just because of the hours spent every morning to get that tiny under-lip beard the Barça striker sports just so. Whilst everyone causes such a frenzied fuss and kerfuffle about fellow products of La Masia like Messi, Iniesta and Piqué, the poor poppet is forced to show strangers photographs of his scamp-faced younger self alongside Carles Puyol to prove that he really is Camp Nou born and bred. Well, that’s not entirely true.” (FourFourTwo)