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Top 10 French footballers of all time

Wearing the traditional colours of blue, white and red, the colours of French national flag, they are colloquially known as Les Bleus (the Blues). France national team played their first official match in 1904. Since then the national team won one FIFA World cup title, two UEFA European Football Championships, one Olympic tournament and two FIFA Confederation Cups. Currently they are holding 19th position in FIFA ranking. There are so many prominent French footballers holding their glory alongside with The French national team. Today we are here to present top 10 French footballers of all time.

The list of top 10 French footballers of all time:

10. Franck Ribery (2006-present, 16 goals in 80 caps)

Some may suggest that Ribery is overrated, but the nominee of last year FIFA Ballon D’or won virtually every honour at club level. Currently he has become a key figure of Bayern Munich Club. With Bayern Munich he has won four Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals , one Champions League and a world club cup.

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Franck Ribery in action ——image via: commons.wikimedia.org

In the international football Ribery has turned in some eye catching performances. In 2006 world cup, the match against Spain, his first goal was particularly memorable as he scored it in the first knock out round.

9. Lilian Thuram (1994-2008, 2 goals in 142 caps)

The defender, Lilian Thuram was a key member of France’s Golden period. Besides he also won trophies in France, Italy, and Spain. In the club football, the majority of his success came with Juventus, with whom he won two Serie A titles and Italian Super Cups.

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Lilian Thuram—image via: cm0102.com

Although he was not known for scoring goals, but his two knocks was regarded with great values for the French team. In 98’ World cup in France with the host losing 1-0 in the semi-finals, Thuram fired in an unexpected brace to carry his nation to the final, where they overcame Brazil.

8. Eric Cantona (1987-1995, 20 goals in 45 caps)

Eric Cantona’s international career was littered with controversy as he fell out with team managers-Henri Michel and Aime Jacquet. Nevertheless Cantona still managed himself to score 20 goals for his nation, which included 2-1 win over Sweden in World Cup qualifying.

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Eric Cantona, Manchester United legend——–image via: 18yardbox06.blogspot.com

After being controversial in Ligue 1 following a string of incident, he flew across the channel and joined in Leeds United to win the 1992 title. After that he joined Manchester United and became an old Trafford legend by winning four premier league titles and two FA cup titles. Surprisingly he was an star in England, not in France.

7. Patrick Vieira (1997-2009, 6 goals in 107 caps)

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Patrick Vieira celebrates after scoring goal—-image via: www.theguardian.com

Being an integral part of the France’s Golden era, Vieira was regarded as one of the world’s best mid-fielders. Although he played as a substitute in 98’France world cup, but he was a key player to the national team when they won European Championship two years later.

He made himself a vital figure in Arsenal with which he won three premier league titles and four FA Cups.

6. Jean-Pierre Papin (1986-1995, 30 goals in 54 caps)

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Papin scoring for AC Milan—-image via: thegentlemanultra.tumblr.com

It was sad for a player of his talent being a member of French side branded ‘ the Cursed generation’ with Michel Platini retired Zinedine Zidane struggling to establish himself. But Papin had proven his quality at both Club and International level. He was so popular in Marseille, that the Italian Club AC Milan offered a record fee of 10 million pound to secure his service in 1992.

5. Just Fontaine (1953-1960, 30 goals in 21 caps!!!)

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Just Fontaine , above all—image via: www.sportskeeda.com

France may have finished third in 1958 World Cup, but Fontaine made his glory written in the world cup history. He scored a stunning 13 goals in that tournament which is a still standing World Cup record. His quartet of strikes during the playoff encounter against West Germany was a firing performance in that tournament.

He made his debut match memorable by scoring a hat-trick against Luxemburg in a 1954 world cup qualifier. Fontaine was the leading goal scorer in 1958-59 European Cup with 10 goals. His most successful period was spent with the French club Stade de Reims.

4. Thierry Henry (1997-2010, 51 goals in 123 caps)

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Thierry Henry flying in the wind—-image via: www.picgifs.com

Thierry Henry is France’s leading goal scorer of all time by a 10-goal margin. Henry’s international career is full of glorious matches. He scored three goals in France ’98 world cup and added another three in Euro 2000. In 2006 world cup it was Henry’s goal that defeated the defending Champion Brazil.

Many feel that, he is the best player English Club Arsenal ever got. Henry achieves the position with dignity in the list of top 10 French footballers of all time.

3. Raymond Kopa (1952-1962, 18 goals in 45 caps)

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Raymond Kopa—-image via: lgnds.net

By beating players like Pele, Garrincha and his teammate Fontaine , Kopa won the player of the tournament award in 1958 World Cup. One year later, the French master also won FIFA Ballon D’or. The Frenchman lifted the European Cup on three occasions in 1950s alongside Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano. He remains in Pele’s list of top 125 greatest living footballers of all time.

2. Michel Platini (1976-1987, 41 goals in 72 caps)

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Platini with Ballon D’or—image via: en.wikipedia.org
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Young Platini—-image via: www.theguardian.com

Michel Platini’s finest performance came during 1984 championships. He guided the hosts to their first international trophy while France scored 14 goals, nine of which came from Platini in that tournament.

In the club level, he helped Juventus with his stunning goal to win their first ever European Cup against Liverpool in 1985.

1. Zinedine Zidane  (1994-2006, 31 goals in 108 caps)

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Zidane’s header in 98 world cup finals—-image via: www.bbc.co.uk

The hero of 1998 world cup, ‘Zizou’ has experienced such contrast emotions in two world cup final that no one ever did before. The world cup hero scored two goals of three that sunk Brazil in 1998 world cup final. And dramatically eight years later against Italy in 2006 world cup finals, he made himself the villain of all when he was sent off for headbutting Italian Marco Materazzi. France was defeated on penalties. It was Zizou’s last match as a professional footballer.

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Zidane with the World Cup——-image via: www.japonkale.com

His glittering career includes two Serie A with Juventus and a La Liga crown with Real Madrid.

In 2002 champions league final, Zidane fired an unstoppable volley into the Bayer Leverkusen net. The goal was regarded as one of the best ever scored in any match. And Zinrdine Zidane places no 1 position in our list of top 10 French footballers of all time..

Also Read: Highest sold football kits 2014/2015

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Lucas Podolski, Germany’s secret weapon

Can Lucas Podolski secure his chance?

There were some serious doubts over the German winger Lucas Podoloski after Euro 2012. Although the German scored just twice for Germany in last 18 months, his over all potential for German national team is totally undoubted.

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Lucas Podolski, Germany’s secret weapon—-image via: commons.wikimedia.org

Germany may have an abundance of world class attacking options, many of whom will be ahead of Lucas Podolski. Marco Reus is certainly not a secret anymore after his heroic performance against Real Madrid and he is in great form over few months. Another Mesut Ozil is a kind of player who needs no introduction at all. Ozil has been a cornerstone for German national team since 2009. It was Thomas Muller being the youngest player to score five goals in 2010 world cup since the legend Pele. As a favorite of Low’s opponents can more or less expect Mario Gotze as a threat.

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Podolski can be Germany’s cornerstone—-image via: hu.wikipedia.org

Lucas in Low’s eye:

It is unlikely that Lucas podolski to start, while so many other international superstars are available to Joachim Low. But Low is looking increasingly to be an impact substitute like a surprise package just like Lucas Podolski can be.
Low has been loyal historically to certain long standing players, from Klose to Per Mertesacker to podolski. The issue was never their current form in the club. With Low mentioning him as ‘ indispensable’ , podolski has continued to make appearances for his country, despite his recent drought of goals.
After managing 112 caps for Germany , Podolski will be Low’s first choice of attack. Julian Draxler’s stagnation at Schalke and Andre Schurrle’s inability to make much impression in Chelsea will make Podolski’s path smooth.
Although in recent years, he has often lacked confidence and precision and it has become increasingly easy to forget the impact that Podolski can have. But he has the potential to offer some unique qualities of attack and that may be very useful in the upcoming world cup tournament. He may prove very useful to the German team. His shooting power is definitely unmatched to any current German international except Reus, a better finisher with stronger leg.

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Podolski, will he make the blow?—–image via: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Will it be his last World Cup?

Lucas Podolski has had the chance to work on his partnership with his Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil and they certainly now have a chemistry unlike any other pairing in Low’s team. Ozil was quite a helping hand for podolski in Arsenal as he’s been a menace to opposing defenses, latching onto through passes from the playmaker on the left wing.
Podolski has been to the world cup twice and he perfectly understands the magnitude. It can be his last World cup, as his 29th birthday is knocking. After joining Arsenal, the 2014 FIFA World cup Brazil will be his first international match. He may not be a good starter, but he will be the Germany’s secret weapon off bench in Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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Lionel Messi, is this time for Argentina?

The world cup count down has begun with digital clocks around all over Brazil marking the seconds remaining before kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Argentine manager Alejandro Sabella is expected to reveal his final squad within next few days. This agenda is dominating by a press fracas over the ‘people player’ Carlos Tevez and a worry due to Gonzalo Higuain’s recent injury.

Carlos Tevez or Lionel Messi?

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Lionel Messi in action—image via: en.wikipedia.org

Although ,Tevez has enjoyed a superlative season with Juventus, he has never been part of Sabella’s national project. It is indeed a fact that has become a bone of contention generating minor demonstrations and widespread emotional outburst in some circle.

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Carlos Tevez, in a mood of despire—-image via: www.flickr.com

The possible clash with Lionel Messi, if not personally in terms of position they occupy on the pitch, may be among the reasons why it is unlikely he will be included now. Messi is being hailed as the axis around which the squad must turn without having expressed himself at all on this subject. Whatever works for Messi is what works for Argentina.

Messi is the hope:

 The four times Ballon D’or winner, Lionel Messi, 26 is still a bit of an unknown quatity for his country. He may not be a natural leader, but his boy-next door demeanour and by now renowned economy of words hide the power behind his name. The fact is Lionel Messi has become the centre of expectation, whether he overtly executes his influence or simply by osmosis makes whoever happens to be the manager try out the system in which he appears more comfortable.

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Lionel Messi , the Hope—-image via: pt.wikipedia.org

For years the Argentine outcry was why Lionel Messi deliver with the nation as he did with Barcelona. Now even Barcelona is no longer deemed an adequate model to aspire to.

The history:

In 2002, under the leadership of Marcelo Bielsa, Arentina saw one of the quickest exits in memory with them failing to get past the group stage, the smoothest ride to World cup finals the country has ever known.

Since the last world cup victory in 1986, the quest for the right formula has evaded many managers. In 1978, Argentina’s first world cup victory was under the managerial nous of Cesar Luis Menotti. Menotti defended the beauty of an attacking game above everything. He dared leave the 17- year old Maradona out of the squad completely, feeling a solid team could work just as well with out a single genius.

Failing of the Greats:

The footballing discourse has not changed for long time since. The bi-valued approach is ever present, not just in terms of style but also in the culture. Pro-government and anti-government, Boca or River, touchy passes vs dirty antics,

 All approaches tried since, have failed to win the world cup. Jose Pekerman, Alfio Basile, Sergio Batista, Daniel Passarella and of course the God of Football himself, Maradona all failed to lighten the nation.

No more dispute please!

Perhaps it is time to stop focusing on indiviguals, whether Tevez and Messi can co exist in no 10s is less serious than whether a country so geared to rising little boys for international sale can start to produce some defenders as well as some attacking mid-fielders in the long run.

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Argentina football team in the last World Cup—-Image via: en.wikipedia.org

There will be a profound structural changes within the establishment which has remained in power for over three decades could well be afoot if Lionel Messi fails to deliver the actual world cup back to the Football Association.

Lets see what Lionel Messi brings for his supporters in this world cup.

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Can Cristiano Ronaldo power Portugal to World Cup glory?

On Wednesday Cristiano Ronaldo broke another world record and became his country’s all-time top international goalscorer with 49 goals in 110 appearances. In Portugal’s 5-1 friendly win over Cameroon Ronaldo scored twice and he played down the significance of his latest achievement saying,

” I do not look to beat records. This happens naturally, with a lot of effort, dedication, with the excellent national team we have, a good coach. I knew that sooner or later it was going to happen.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo goal celebration —-image via: www.beinsports.tv

In spite of his modesty in this occasion, there is surely one achievement he could not possibly play down were he to claim it. He would become one of the indisputable all-time greats in football if Ronaldo could lead Portugal to World Cup glory in Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Ronaldo does not need a World Cup win to be considered great, claimed by Jose Mourinho. He may be saying the truth but it does not mean that Ronaldo, the 29 year old cannot be a World Cup winner.

Received wisdom suggests that in terms of quality Portugal are on a similar level to England and are thus it is highly unlikely for them to win the world Cup. However, anything is possible with a player of Real Madrid star’s quality. Cristiano Ronaldo has proved that several times. He is the type of player who can beat teams on his own, as he displayed in last November when his stunning hat-trick sent Portugal to the World Cup at the expense of Sweden.

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Cristiano ronaldo in action against Cameroon—-image via: www.goal.com

In addition, his displays in EURO 2012 were equally impressive as Portugal reached the semi-finals only to be edged out on penalties by eventual champions and 2010 FIFA World Cup winners, Spain. The group stage of that game Portugal defeated the Netherlands, the beaten finalist of 2010 FIFA World Cup with Ronaldo’s stunning class. And Ronaldo is more furious and strong and skilful than he was in 2012. He is currently holding the FIFA Ballon D’or. In this season of La liga he scored 23 goals in 22 matches and 11 goals in six champions’ league appearances.

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cristiano ronaldo after breaking the record—-image via: www.indiatimes.com

The reason Portugal are rare seen as legitimate contenders for the World Cup are because of the rest of the squad. But having some qualities in the squad it needs a little help for Ronaldo to reach his full potential. Players like Raul Meireles, Edinho and Fabio Coentrao, fellow goalscorers offered him a good support in the game against Cameroon. Monaco’s Joao Moutinho was a great help two years ago in Poland and Ukraine and if he finds that kind of forms once again Portugal could go far. But being the key player of Portugal, everyone will be looking for something special from Cristiano Ronaldo in every game they play in Brazil this World Cup. The history could be made if Ronaldo can see Portugal deep into the tournament.

Although there is certainly some huge pressure on Cristiano Ronaldo, if anyone could power an unfancied side to World Cup glory in this summer, it would be certainly him.

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USA Soccer Team will play against Belgium in pre-world cup closed-door friendly

The US men’s National Team (USMNT) has added another friendly match to its world cup preparations. They will take on Belgium on June 12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The closed –door match will take place just four days before the Americans take on Ghana in world cup 2014.

This agreement will give both national teams some final competitive testing. Pre world cup matches are always good for the main tournament. Already FIFA have announced the event.

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USA Soccer Team: image credit www.flickr.com

“It will be a kind of training session for each side.”

Belgium Football Federation expressed their expectation per FIFA.

USA Soccer Team expects a full-blown friendly. But it sounds more like a scrimmage. Both the managers should assure their squad to remain sharp. They also need to keep fit both their key players during the final domestic match and after starting the group event of world cup.

Last May in Cleveland, both the teams faced off in a friendly match. USA Soccer Team loses the game. Christian Benteke provided the second half pair of goals which leaned Belgium to a 4-2 win.

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Belgium National Team : image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Some believes that match is the main reason for this agreement. That game probably is inspiring both the teams to train together so close to the Brazil world cup 2014.
The USA Soccer Team was set to battle Nigeria, Turkey and Azerbaijan in the United States. These matches were to earn the ticket for the trip to world cup 2014.

Jurgen Klinsmann, the manager for USA Soccer Team has placed a major emphasis on current form. He will make up his line-up decisions based on the friendly matches and training sessions.

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USA vs Belgium : image credit commons.wikimedia.org

So there are chances of making or breaking of certain players to the final events. The decisions will be provided from the closed-door match probably. The midfield and the outsides of the back line positions are up for grabs.

Many people considers group G as the “Group of Death”, this year. The USA Soccer Team is in a group alongside Portugal, Germany and Ghana. So the United States have to earn three points against the black stars in the opening match. May be this will become the key to survive in group G.

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USA vs Belgium : image credit msn.foxsports.com

Belgium is in Group H. They are with Russia, Algeria and South Korea. This group is much easier to navigate. Belgium will definitely hope the final training session with the USA Soccer Team is crisp and clean.

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Brazil fired by anti-World Cup protests: Rio and Sao Paulo are burning

With the FIFA World Cup coming in less than a month, the Brazilian government has sent in the tanks to restore order amid anti-world cup protests against the hosting cost of this international football competition. The riot police have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo who marched against that demand. Some protesters hurled stones while others burned tyres and blocked roads.

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The protests across Brazil—image via: usa.chinadaily.com.cn

The cause of their anger was that billions of dollars are being spent on next month’s FIFA World Cup, rather than social projects and housing. Including Brasilia, the anti-world cup protests also took place in other cities in Brazil. Among others, teachers and civil servants also join in the protest across Brazil.

In Rio, hundreds of people were marching in rush-hour traffic on a main thoroughfare. The Rio riots drew the attention of the world as Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the final match of the FIFA World Cup 13 July.

Another city, Sao Paulo, hosting the inauguration match against Brazil and Croatia, was affected when the protesters cut off access to the Avenida Paulista.

 The federal troops arrived in the World Cup host city of Recife on Thursday, as the state police are on strike demanding better pay in that city.

Protests are more frequent:

The number of people protesting on the street was much lower than during similar anti-world cup protests last year. Although some of the activists promised that the demonstration would get bigger and more frequent as the World Cup gets closure. More than a million people took to the street last June over poor public services, corruption and the vast cost of World Cup hosting.

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Brazil on fire—image via: www.bbc.co.uk

According to BBC the Brazil government is looking closure to the protests as it indicates a security challenge for them. In addition the with the World Cup and the Presidential election coming in the same year, many groups are spotted to put pressure on the current government.

‘No panic, just protest’

The head of the Homeless workers movement Guilherme Boulos said,

“Our goal is symbolic. We don’t want to destroy or damage the stadium.”

On the other hand the Government was trying to downplay the scale of Thursday’s protest, arguing it was not linked with the upcoming World Cup at all. On behalf of the government, Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said ,

” I’ve seen nothing that is related to the (World) Cup”.

He was assuring that there’s no reason to panic in receiving three million Brazilian tourists and 600,000 foreign visitors for the World Cup tournaments.

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The peaceful protest—image via: abduzeedo.com

The anti-world cup protests were planned along with a range of strikes, including the one by the police force in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. On the third day of strike the army was deployed to provide additional support after some robberies and looting.

The local media reported that total 234 people were arrested in the last 24 hour.

The Brazilian leaders had believed that the World Cup and then 2016 Olympics in Rio would put a spotlight on the country. They show the advances over the past decade in improving its economy and pulling tens of millions out of poverty cycle.

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5 Stars missed FIFA 2014 World Cup

1. Petr Cech:

Petr Cech, misses world cup
Petr Cech, the wall—-image via: theshedender.com

This Chelsea player has long been established as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. With over 100 international caps Cech has proved a veritable rock for his country, Czech Republic. His strength and reliability coming out on corners and set pieces. You have to earn a goal against stunning reflexes. Strikers will be happier that Petr Cech is not around Brazil. Petr Cech is one of the finest stars missed FIFA 2014 world cup.

2. Christian Eriksen:

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2. Christian Eriksen—-image via: www.fmsweden.se

Major tournaments like World Cup usually reveal a rising star, such as 20 year-old EnzoScifo for Belgium and Michael Laudrup for Denmark in 1986. When Laudrup shone in Mexico, he was just 21, the same age as Christian Eriksen is now. Eriksen is seen as the future of Denish football as his silky skill and quick-thinking brain has drawn comparisons to the legend Laudrup. The Denish must be disappointed not to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He is indeed one of the stars missed FIFA 2014 world cup in our list.

3. Gareth Bale:

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Gareth Bale—–image via: www.thetimes.co.uk

 

 

The Wales winger Gareth Bale will be hoping he doesn’t follow the footsteps of his illustrious countryman Ryan Giggs-who won everything with his club Manchester United but never played in a World Cup. Bale had a stunning last season with 21 goals for Spurs, fair enough to draw the attention of Real Madrid. His combination of power, searing pace and incredibly hard shot make him a nightmare to defend against. Defenders in Brazil world cup will be thankful to him for his absence. He is one of the stars missed FIFA 2014 world cup.

4. Robert Lewandowski:

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Robert Lewandowski —-image via: soccerlens.com

This Borussia Dortmund striker outshone Cristiano Ronaldo when he scored four goals against Real Madrid in the last season’s Champions League semifinals. He has scored 63 goals in 110 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund and he is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe. Unfortunately, Poland ended up finishing fourth in a tough qualifying group leaving the chance for England, Ukraine and Montenegro.

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic—-image via: en.wikipedia.org

His fans are saying,

‘ there is no point of watching the World cup because Ibrahimovic won’t be playing in it.”

Zlatan, the 32-years is in the best form of his career. His reputation of making some spectacular goals are well known to his fans, like the martial arts-style volleys, dipping shots from all angles, his overhead kicks from 30 meters out.

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Dengue fever concerns for World Cup in Brazil

Dengue, a threat in brazil world cup football 2014:

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Dengue prevalence throughout the world, some areas of Brazil in red zone—–image via: en.wikipedia.org

The new research suggests there are some concerns about the FIFA World Cup, taking place in Brazil later this summer, could result in serious outbreaks of dengue fever. A study carried out by international scientists has revealed the cases of dengue outbreaks could be set to soar over the summer, as approximately 1 million football fans will be travelling across Brazil between 12 cities from 12 June to 30 July.

The research of Dengue fever:

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Aedes mosquito, carrier of dengue—-image via: commons.wikimedia.org

From the explanation of Dr. Rachel Lowe, the lead researcher from the Catalan Institute of climate sciences in Barcelona, there are the possibility of a large dengue fever outbreaks during the World cup in Brazil. She also suggested that the outbreaks is capable of infecting visitors and spreading dengue back to their country of origin. Although it depends on a combination of many factors, including large numbers of mosquitoes, a susceptible population and high rate of mosquito-human contact, the concerned authority should treat it as a threat.

Areas affected by Dengue in Brazil:

Three certain areas of Brazil may be most affected while the football fans visiting there for watching the matches. These three locations are Natal, Fortaleza and Recife. If England wins its group, they will play in Recife on 29th June.

Dengue and Brazil:

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Tourists in Brazil should be conscious —-image via: www.flickr.com

However, warnings of dengue have been issued to 553 areas throughout Brazil, after analyzing the data relating to rain fall, average temperature, altitude and density of population recorded between 1981 and 2013.

Since 2000, dengue fever is a prevalent problem in Brazil, with more cases –around 7 million in total-in this country than anywhere else in the world.

Dengue is a viral infection and it is carried by Aedes mosquitoes. Dengue fever can quickly develop into a serious life threatening condition named ‘Dengue Haemorrhagic fever’. No preventive vaccines or other treatments are available currently to fight the disease.

The preventive measures of Dengue:

The researchers have urged the tourists to use mosquito repellent take advantage of air-conditioning systems and consider using screens to shield themselves from aedes mosquitoes.

As these warnings have come before the tournament begins, local Brazilian authorities have taken the chance to prepare enough preventive measures.

It is being advised that if anyone does return home ill following the world cup, they must seek immediate treatment from a doctor as soon as possible to prevent the disease from spreading further.

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Top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014

As the world cup gets firmly on the horizon, the anticipation is building ahead of the first match of the tournament between host Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

Brazil are certainly be the favorite. But they will face major competition on home. There are plenty of challengers threatening them. Today we will focus on top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

Top 5 teams with their different tactics:

5. Argentina:

Argentina is a team with the richest collection of attacking players on their side. Diego Maradona or Sergio Batista shove as many of them as possible into the side and hope their collective talents will somehow win it out. Funny, isn’t it? But this time, learning from mistakes, Alejandro Sabella built solid base and then started to add the marvels.

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the duo of Messi and Aguero will be the key—-image via: indianexpress.com

Argentina always have the problems of defense. The back four may lack the star quality of the forward, but it does have Javier Mascherano with Fernando Gago and Angel Di Maria shuttling alongside him. His main role will be to link to a dazzling front three; Gonzalo Higuain with Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.

Argentina thus stays in the list of top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

4. Chile:

The coach Jorge Sampaoli has proved so popular in Chile as he described himself as a ‘disciple’ of Marcelo Biesla.

Like Biesla he often uses three backs that allows his midfielders to press the opponents as early as possible. Jorge Sampaoli will change the shape according to the opposition, just like Biesla, 3-4-1-2 sometimes becoming 4-3-3.

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Jorge Valdivia, Chile’s weapon of attack—–image via: celebrityhairstylez.com

The changes that are made are all about identifying the patterns of the opponents and then looking to disrupt their natural rhythm as far as possible.

The front three is formed highly mobile with Alexis Sanchez cutting from the right, Eduardo Vargas on the left and Jorge Valdivia in central position.

However, for their technical aspects of playing they gain the position in our list of top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

3. Germany:

As it has been since the quarter-final of EURO 2008, the shape of German team will be 4-2-3-1. But it is only the part of story.

The Coach Low has abandoned a centre-forward to play with a false nine eight times over the past two years.

Mario Gomez misses his chance for the squad while Miroslav Klose, at 36, could be given the opportunity to add to his 14 goals in World Cups. It seems likely that Low will start with Thomas Muller and Marco Reus on the flank, Mario Gotze as a false nine and Mesut Ozil as the playmaker.

fifa world cup 2014, mesut ozil, german tactical football
Mesut Ozil, the playmaker for Germany—-image via: www.theguardian.com

On the contrary, the front four isn’t necessarily great at tracking back, which can expose the back four. Low’s attempt to make German team more proactive which has coincided with such defensive lapses that no side finished top of its qualifying group in Europe conceded more goals than Germany.

2. Mexico:

With a struggling qualifying for the World Cup, the new coach is now attempting to use players from the domestic league. He has returned to the system they used in 2010 World Cup, which in turn was essentially the style Ricardo La Volpe used in Germany in 2006 World Cup.

In some sense the formation is a 5-3-2, but there are some natural fluidity to this shape, with Rafael Marquez stepping out from the centre of defence and the two wing-backs, Paul Aguilar and Miguel Layun, providing the width.

Deep in the midfield, Juan Carlos Medina sits to provide a fixed point, while Herrera is

fifa world cup 2014, Javier Hernandez
Javier Hernandez——image via: awfulannouncing.com

committed to a front two, usually Oribe Peralta and Javier Hernandez, so the formation can shift into 3-3-2-2 or 4-2-2-2 depending on whether the wing-back or Marquez advance.

1. Spain:

The Brazil-born striker Diego Costa gives Spain a bustling, physical edge up front and it may be the end of the False nine upon his arrival.

However, Spain has an embarrassment of riches in the middle. There has always been something slightly awkward about Xabi Alonso and role of disrupting the Barcelona trio Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

But if Cesc Fabregas and David Silva are included in the team, does the team lack pace, is it just full of neat midfielders who hold the ball firmly.

fifa world cup 2014, Cesc Fabregas,  fifa world cup football 2014,
Cesc Fabregas and David Silva , the duo, the key for spain—-image via: justfootballers.blogspot.com

Spain, the previous champion leads as the most influential team in the list of top 5 tactical teams in FIFA World Cup 2014.

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Bastian Schweinsteiger in Injuries, Worry German Squad

German midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger left Bayern’s final Bundesliga match of the season with a knee injury. The injury gave the German fans another anxiety ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2014.

The need of Schweinsteiger:

German’s are desperate in need of Schweinsteiger to be fit in their campaign for world cup. It has been a season of many absences for the German and none is giving a guarantee that he will be fit to start the Brazil campaign.

bastian schweinsteiger, schweinsteiger
bastian schweinsteiger, the integral part of German team—-image via; www.zimbio.com

Schweinsteiger, the 29-year-old will celebrate a decade in the German Squad just before their opening Group G game against Portugal on June 16 having won his 101st cap in the 1-0 win over Chile in last March.

A defensive midfield shoo-in for country as well as club, Schweinsteiger’s presence for Bayern Munich this season has been restricted by a trio of injuries.

Injury became part of his life:

In the preseason period back to back ankle surgeries hampered him badly. Then in January he suffered an inflamed knee ligament at a training camp in Qatar.

Bastian Schweinsteiger returned with a vengeance on his full 90 minutes appearance in mid-March when he curled home a free-kick for the winner as Bayer Leverkusen lost 2-1 in Munich.

bastian schweinsteiger, bastian schweinsteiger injury, bayern injury
Schweinsteiger in injury—-image via: www.4-4-2europe.com

While playing against Arsenal at home, he scored in 1-1 draw as Bayern reached the Champions League Quarter-finals 3-1 on aggregate, then netted in their 2-0 league win at Mainz.

Bastian Schweinsteiger gained valuable match fitness in 2014 as he played only 16 of Bayern Munich’s first 27 league matches. In the Champions League semifinals Bayern Munich was defeated by Real Madrid. The match put a great deal of psychological blow and the knock to the knee last weekend didn’t help.

German coach Joachim Loew said,

“with his class and experience, he has a big influence on our game.”

By measuring his value he added,

“When he is able to play 90 minutes, with his confidence on the ball and tactical awareness, Other players respond when they see Bastian is playing well.”

He is the part of German Strategy:

Schweinsteiger claimed his 7th German league title when Bayern Munich finally confirmed Bundesliga champions with a record seven games to spare.

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm switched from right-back to accompany him in the defensive midfield and Joachim Loew could repeat the action in Brazil too.

Loew lacks defensive mid-field options to partner Schweinsteiger with Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira struggling with a knee injury.

bastian schweinsteiger, bayern munich
Schweinsteiger—–image via: hiilkubad.com

The options like Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan has not played since August with a back injury while Dortmund’s Sven Bender is out with a pelvis injury. They all face a race against time to be fit for Brazil.

Bayern Munich’s Toni Kross has proved himself a better option as he has had a stellar season in the attacking midfield role for the European Champions and he may be dropped back into the number six position or Philipp Lahm could be moved across from right back.

No replacement for Schweinsteiger:

When Germany finished third at the 2006 World Cup on home soil, Schweinsteiger played a key role for the team. At Euro 2004, Schweinsteiger at the age of 19, had his debut.

He was awarded man-of-the –match with two long range strikes in the 3-1 play-off win against Portugal and he nearly finished with a hat-trick.

Just before the last World Cup when Michael Ballack was injured, Schweinsteiger filled his midfield role and when fit, he is Loew’s first choice in midfield.

In claiming a fourth World Cup title in Brazil, he will be the heart of Germany’s bid.

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Germany vs Ghana: Battle between Jerome Boateng and Kevin-Prince Boateng, Match preview

Germany vs Ghana: Battle between Jerome Boateng and Kevin-Prince Boateng, Match preview , world cup group stage, 2014 Brazil world cup
Germany vs Ghana ; image credit fr.fotopedia.com

The group stage matches are now onto the second lot. As FIFA World Cup 2014, first round of group stage matches are already completed. Quite expected and surprise events have taken place within just these few games.
For a group G match, now we are looking at the Germany vs Ghana match. Tonight Germany will face Ghana in their second group stage match. They will have to put in one hell of a performance like their last match against Portugal.

Plan for Germany in Germany vs Ghana match:

After the last glorious match, Joachim Low here faces the unenviable task of another glamorous win.

Die Mannschaft cause a destruction for the team Portugal with Thomas Mueller’s hat-trick. Mario Goetze was another greater weapon for the team. Mesut Ozil also found some space for himself, which turned the line to the victory with comfortable difficulties.

May be Germany will be planning for another 4-3-3 formation this night. This formation sends the featured four centre-backs. With players like Philipp Lahm in midfield and no Bastian Schweinsteiger, we still can hope for a few changes. And there is another question, who is the selection today as replacement.

Truly it is difficult to predict the great Low. But he must be finding some fine plans of winning this particular match as to make sure the second round.

Plan for Ghana in Germany vs Ghana match:

Last match, Ghana went for a 4-2-3-1 formation and that was turgid. Many can say it as uninspiring and full of flaws for the team.

They started their opener against the USA’s 4-4-2. Still failed to use their spare man in midfield to good use. Another reson for their failure can be considered as the poor decision making.

Kwesi Appiah tried after the U.S. left flank. But this allowed the game to bypass their best player Kwadwo Asamoah as left back.

Asamoah Gyan is probably not anymore sharp like the 2010. He is not that ready like the runner off the ball like the previous World Cup event.

Battle between two brothers: Jerome Boateng and Kevin-Prince Boateng

Yes off course, this is not a tactical clash. Probably this can be taken as a battle between two brothers at a World Cup. But definitely it’s nothing to be excited about.

Prince seriously injured Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final four years ago. He also ruled the midfield general out of the World Cup 2010. And that’s the main cause he becomes the no. 1 common enemy for the German team.

As a matter of fact, this man will now represent Ghana and come up against his own brother Jerome for the first time tonight.

Germany vs Ghana: Pressure vs Counter

In the world cup 2010 qualifiers, Ghana excelled on the counterattacks. While Jurgen Klinsmann took that prospect away from the Black Stars. Now this will be ever-present against Germany too.

Jordan Ayew, Gyan and Christian Atsu can all devastate at pace. Die Mannschaft is here guaranteed to take at least 65 percent possession of the ball. Now there Appiah can prepare his side for a more direct outline.

No, we don’t think Ghana will ever be able to break down Low’s side that much easily. Actually they don’t need to do so. But obviously Germany will try to dominate the black stars as to become the 4 times World Cup Winners.

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Italy vs Costa Rica: surprise gift for the unexpected team

Italy vs Costa Rica: surprise gift for the unexpected team, world cup 2014
Italy vs Costa Rica ; image credit espn.go.com

The opening performance by the Italians was impressive. Especially for the group D, which is considered as the group of death in this World Cup 2014, Brazil. Many, must have expected Italy to make an easier effort for the next round. Costa Rica was truly an easier opponent comparing the other two.

But this is not the first time. The Azzurri have a history of making such difficulties for themselves. With the lesser opponent they just missed the chance to manage their place for the last 16. Nothing but the poor performance, they offered, is liable for the defeat in Italy vs Costa Rica match.

Primarily we couldn’t just determine what to expect from the Cesare Prandelli’s team. As they have recently vanquished the English, less than a week ago. A number of decisions from the Italy coach only exaggerated that feeling. His tinkering with the starting XI made sense. But certainly his choices seemed erroneous with the Friday’s match moving on.

There is no opportunity to argue with the goalkeeper change. Even after the Salvatore Sirigu’s excellent display against England in Manaus. The stopper enjoyed a solid outing. May be he also would acknowledge that the return of Gigi Buffon was inevitable. As soon as the Juventus man is recovered from his ankle injury, he is meant to be with the starting eleven for Italy vs Costa Rica match.

Italy vs Costa Rica: As it happened

 Their captain was where the real issues lay. The initial decision to drop Gabriel Paletta again seemed a wise move. He just struggled too much for the opening match. Parma defender looked woeful. English attacking players were constantly getting the better of him, though failed for his unsteady showing.

So the withdrawal made serious implications across the Italy back line. With Matteo Darmian swapping flanks to left-back, Giorgio Chiellini shifted back into the centre. And Ignazio Abate was drafted in on the right. But the Milan full-back was offered a torrid time in Italy vs Costa Rica match. He was constantly out of position and just allowed Junior Dias far too much space, which led the only goal of this match.

world cup 2014, group stage, Italy vs Costa Rica
the only goal ; image credit o.canada.com/Jamie McDonald

Andrea Barzagli retained his position within the back five. Their defensive mix-ups were really no surprise. But Joel Campbell was unlucky not to add to that Bryan Ruiz opener. The Azzurri woes at one end of the field were only compounded further forward. And swapping Marco Verratti for Thiago Motta robbed Italy of some much needed creativity for that particular match.

Against England on Saturday night, the 21-year-old midfielder was constantly probing the defence. He completed 97 percent of his passes right. He also assisted for Claudio Marchisio’s opening goal. Another time he managed a clever corner routine involving Andrea Pirlo making room for his raking shot from distance, outside the d box.

This time, there were far fewer opportunities against a well-organized team. Prandelli made three attacking changes and sought an equalizer. But no effects. He introduced, Antonio Cassano, Lorenzo Insigne and Alessio Cerci. Still failed to provide a cutting edge in Italy vs Costa Rica match. His tri managed to provide only one shot on target.

Mario Balotelli can be considered as an increasingly isolated and frustrated figure. The Milan striker managed just 24 touches over the 90 minutes game. For all his 12 pass attempts, he never really came close to his match-winning heroics like the one against England. And at the second half he got the deserved yellow card, as had loosen his temperament.

Just one shot on target!! This kind of performance by the striker was indicative of the uncertainty and unfamiliarity for the team. May be Prandelli’s changes were not that much helping the side, rather hindered the spirit. Now this will bring down a great payment for the Azzurri as to progress to the next round. They will be needing at least one point against Uruguay to last for the final 16. But honestly speaking, it will definitely be a difficult prospect if Luiz Suarez performs as he did in his own victory against England yesterday.

Italy vs Costa Rica: surprise gift for the unexpected team, Costa Rica 2nd round, last 16 for Costa Rica, defeated Italy
Costa Rica wins against Italy ; image credit www.aol.com

And yet, for a very few occasions, even the returning Buffon looked shaky. Though, after the full time he can be proclaimed as the iconic one who summed up the situation a little better.

The Italy skipper told to Sky Italia,

“You get back on your feet by looking on the bright side”

And he believes that Azzurri must be just doing that now.

So, to qualify to the next round is on their hand. Prandelli must get things right on Tuesday against Uruguay. Team Italy (4 times World Cup winner ) needs more creativity, at least more than the Italy vs Costa Rica match. And again, changes should also needs to be well planned as not to harm the team combination but to fuel the victory. A great match awaits I believe!!

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France team preview for Brazil World Cup 2014

A generation of viewers came into their fandom around France’s 1998 World Cup triumph that Les Bleus will always be a world power. However the recent reality is less flattering. After the 2006 Germany World Cup France has qualified for three major tournament but failed to make an impact. Zinedine Zidane just retired that year. At the recent two events of 2008 Euro and 2010 Africa, France failed to advance out of its group. At the Euro 2012, Laurent Blanc’s team make a meek exit at the quarterfinals.

France team preview for Brazil World Cup 2014, France football team squad
France National Football team ; image credit www.tottenhamhotspur.com

There are a number of reasons for their Failure to live up to the global reputation. France team has failed to replace their icons like Lilian Thuram, Zidane and Thierry Henry. This time France team has a great chance with an easy group for the Brazil world cup. Coach Didier Deschamps is hoping for the Les Bleus to take in a new height.

 

Qualifying to the finals:

Hopes of unseating Spain in Europe’s Group I were given a boost in Madrid with Les Bleus’ third qualifiers. But the France team gave that point back with a 1-0 home loss to the world champions. So they were destined to return to the playoffs.

But France team got near verge of missing the finals by losing a 2-0 first leg to Ukraine. Finally they managed to switch in formation to turn the tide in Saint-Denis. Karim Benzema and Mamadou Sakho provided the first half goals. And the second half winner from Sakho led the team through to its fifth consecutive World Cup final event.

 

Group:

Many of the others wanted to draw with Switzerland. It was the seeded team for others. But when Ecuador and Honduras joined them, group E became one of the tournament’s easiest groups.

Undoubtedly France team is favorite in their group. France’s name value makes the nation favorite in the eyes of some. This group will prove kinder than most France could have been drawn into.

 

Schedule:

France vs. Honduras – 15 June, 15:00, Porto Alegre

Switzerland vs. France – 20 June, 16:00, Salvador

Ecuador vs. France – 25 June, 16:00, Rio de Janeiro

France team, Franck Ribery
Franck Ribéry ; image credit de.wikipedia.org

France team star: Franck Ribéry

Frank Ribery is the reigning French Player of the Year. His one-on-one ability could prove lethal wide left of Les Bleus’s dangerous midfield. Deschamps has a threesome plan with Yohan and Matuidi to force the opponents to dedicate numbers to the problem. Ribery has an average of 14 goals per season with Bayern Munich. The more he gets room to score the more the chances for the France team to last in Brazil World Cup 2014.

Secret weapon: Blaise Matuidi

Matuidi’s virtues in Ligue 1 tend to be underappreciated. He provides the strong two-way connecting force for Paris Saint-Germain. He could serve a similar role for Les Bleus. His influence at either end of the pitch could prove just as important. The former Troyes and Saint-Etienne man continues to show his value going forward with 15 goals over the last two years at PSG.

France team preview for Brazil World Cup 2014, French coach, Didier Deschamps
French Coach Deschamps ; image credit www1.skysports.com

Manager: Didier Deschamps

Didier Deschamps was hired in the wake of Euro 2012. He is the former midfielder of Juventus. He has slowly instilled some of his reputed steel into his national team. Hopefully it will be assured in the more robust 4-3-3 the coach has used after experimenting with 4-2-3-1 and various versions of a 4-4-2. Excluding one of the team’s most talented players, Samir Nasri, was another symptom of that edge. A former World Cup and European champion as a player, Didier Deschamps is trying to lift France to the same heights as a coach.

Prediction:

There is a slight chance of three way fight to get out of group E. it depends on Ecuador proving strong in the South American World Cup. Otherwise France team finishes ahead of Switzerland will depend on Les Bleus playing to their potential. France team must be expecting to get to the knockout round.

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France hopes still survive after Franck Ribery injured

Franck Ribery, missing World Cup
Franck Ribery ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

France football team managed to finish their FIFA World Cup preparations, probably in a best possible way. They achieved 8-0 win over Jamaica at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Sunday. After having been blown by the news Franck Ribery injured and will not be fit for the tournament, Didier Deschamps’ men went proving that they could still manage hopes for the France team in Brazil World Cup.

Karim Benzema, Blaise Matuidi and Antoine Griezmann scored two goals each. Yohan Cabaye and Olivier Giroud added the other two goals. The fear caused by Ribery’s confirmed absence earlier in the week was well and truly blown away after this preparation match.

Deschamps finally sought another way to improve Les Bleus’ potency going forward. He decided to deploy Benzema on the left of a loose three-man attacking unit. Now it becomes the familiar 4-3-3 formation. Giroud has to reprise his central role and Mathieu Valbuena once again featuring on the right side.

The evidence of this result can be considered a masterstroke from the 45-year-old coach.

Though Valbuena was unable to find the net himself, he was the star once again. He proved why he is the man whom opponents will have to fear when faced with the French. He was the key in a handful of goals, especially for the first three, he linked up superbly with Giroud and Karim Benzema.

Even Karim Benzema’s roaming role empowered Valbuena. He managed to get the best out of both creatively. Benzema also showed great accuracy in front of goal this night. His club performance was a bit disappointing this season. But now he appears to be in perfect form heading to Brazil world cup 2014. Possibly he will remain key to Deschamps’ strategies.

Karim Benzema, Madrid Star, French hero
Karim Benzema ; image credit www.telegraph.co.uk

The Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema was another major positive on the night. He is continuing to show the confidence that has grown exponentially. The first against Australia back in October and then the second goal in 3-0 play-off win over Ukraine.

Benzema showed in his 80-minute display that he is capable of stepping up and playing one of the decisive roles. He got his two goals exceptionally well. He also linked up superbly with Giroud and particularly Valbuena.

May be these positives should also be tempered by the fact that we have seen this before.

Just before the 2012 UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine, Karim Benzema looked unplayable. But at the final round he failed to score and did precious little else as Laurent Blanc’s side ended its campaign scathingly.

The France team knows what Benzema is capable of. Just he needs to produce these sorts of performances once Les Tricolores arrive in South America. Not only in meaningless friendly matches but also in real competitions.

Along with the system and the shape, France team managed to bring out the best out of the 26-year-old. He was able to roam freely which in turn freed Valbuena too, for that night.

After Franck Ribery injured, France still have four in-form attacking talents heading to Brazil. Which should definitely frighten opponents. For the first two matches it was three as Benzema missed them because of Champions League Final.

France hopes still survive after Franck Ribery injured, missing Brazil 2014
French Star Ribery ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

This kind of impressive performance will be needed to advance from Group E comfortably. Switzerland is arguably the better of their three group-stage adversaries. They managed only a 1-0 win over the same Jamaica side just over one week earlier of this practice match.

Deschamps is probably a little worried about his defense, as it was not really tested. But the forward is quite a cause for him to be happy after Franck Ribery injured. And with an improved performance he can prepare to travel to Brazil.

The French camp has proven that they can be still hopeful after Franck Ribery injured.

Though the Bayern man will be a sore miss at the tournament. Perhaps he will be missed much by those who were keen to see the player who finished third in the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or award, in the World Cup. But Les Bleus, on this evidence probably will not miss him greatly. There are truly other talented options who now appear capable of stepping up in his absence for the Team.

Though a lot will depend on the upcoming week, but this early signs can be considered blessings for France.

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Marco Reus missing the World Cup: Replacement defender Mustafi!!

Marco Reus, Dortmund striker
Marco Reus ; image credit eurofootballweb.com

With all the injuries suffered so far, the German team may have been dealt their biggest blow on Friday. Their key player Marco Reus suffered an ankle injury that eventually ruled him out of the World Cup 2014, Brazil.

Marco Reus was diagnosed with a torn ligament on Saturday. Promptly he was ruled out on the day the team was meant to leave for Brazil. Coach Joachim Loew and his team of arguably their most in-form player heading into the tournament without this key attacker.

Two years ago at the European Championships he featured the bench only. Now Reus becomes an integral part of the team. He helped the team in qualifying and was set to break out on the international stage in the upcoming world event.

But now, as a matter of fact, he will have to wait four more years to get his chance. Joachim Loew just needs to find a way to compensate for the team’s best big-game player.

Now come to the main question!! Is there any alternatives?? Is it compensable?? How??

Finally coach Loew has answered with the idea of replacing Reus by the defender Shkodran Mustafi.

Initially Marco Reus was thought to be missing out. Kevin Volland was the suggestion to replace him. But miserably Volland just missed out after being in the provisional squad while participating in the team’s training campaign.

Anyway, Loew surprised everyone by selecting Sampdoria’s Mustafi on Saturday morning for the team. He was also in the provisional squad. But he was obviously meant to be excluded as there had already been five central defenders on the squad.

May be the first step to understanding Loew’s decision-making is to admit that there is no direct replacement for Reus as well.

The 25-year-old attacker elevated his game to another level this season with Dortmund. He started continuing his prolific scoring with 23 goals but also setting up 23 more for others.

Marco Reus missing the World Cup, German attacker, Dortmund Reus
Reus missing the World Cup ; image credit blogs.independent.co.uk

Many Germany supporters were hoping to see that versatility and output from Reus this summer. As there is no real striker available and also Mesut Ozil struggling to rediscover his form, Marco Reus was the only hope in this circumstances.

It was Marco Reus who tried to make Germany’s system work without a traditional striker. With his combination, Andre Schurrle and Thomas Mueller constantly were interchanging inside and around the box. This was extremely promising and productive against Armenia last night.

Definitely the coach was not looking for direct replacement but to reinforce the defense.

“It was not about finding a like-for-like replacement for Marco. We have a great deal of quality in that position behind the forwards.”

Loew admitted via ESPN FC

The only thing that Germany have been able to count on with so many injuries is their considerable depth in the attack. Probably that is another reason why Loew was able to afford bringing only one out-and-out forward in Miroslav Klose.

It is true that they have enough alternatives like Andre Schurrle, Thomas Muller, Julian Draxler, Lukas Podolski, Toni Kroos , Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil. So another attacking player is not that much necessary for the team with this situation.

“That is why we have chosen an extra option for defense. We know we can rely on Shkodran [Mustafi] 100 percent,”

Loew remarked.

Loew’s first choice up top with Mueller is Schurrle. And Klose can be deemed only an option off the bench. Meanwhile Goetze has been the attacking midfielder used most frequently in that false-nine role. He offers a similar combination of mobility and a nose for goal.

Marco Reus has been Germany’s most complete attacking player. Others bring something else for the table. Loew will have to choose wisely.

Losing Marco Reus is a bitter blow for sure. But for now it can be considered as Germany’s golden generation. And with these countless attacking players we will find out what they can result in Brazil.