Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday May 31 2008
After having decided to follow the Dutch in Euro 2008, courtesy of an editorial poll, we`ll continue our look at Group C, the group the Dutch have been placed in.
In a previous article, we had a quick look at Italy, today it is the turn of France.
In this so called 'Group of Death` France, alongside Italy, are probably favourites to go through. Indeed, in the qualifying group it was these two teams that knocked out Scotland.
The French side does feature numerous players that are familiar to us having plied their trade in our own Premier League at one time or another.
Amongst them are Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda, Claude Makelele, Patrick Vieira and William Gallas. Their squad also includes the much vaunted Franck Ribery as well as Willy Sagnol.
However, despite reaching the last World Cup Final, where they lost to Italy, there are suspicions that the French side has seen its best day.
Coached by Raymond Domenech, the French could be the side that Holland have to beat to progress to the next stages.
The two sides clash on June 13th, in Berne, it could be a make-or-break fixture, with the losers knowing the tournament is all but over for them.
In qualifying for Euro 2008, the French side lost to Scotland at Hampden Park and also in Paris to the Scots proving that they are not infallible.
As they head into Euro 2008, Raymond Domenech is under a little pressure. In all his nineteen years of coaching he has yet to win a trophy and critics are waiting for his 4-2-3-2 formation to click.
It is the two defensive midfielders playing in front of the back four that critics blame for France`s tame exit from Euro 2004 and it is surprising that Domenech hasn`t changed his style of play.
Returning to the fixture schedule, as already pointed out, a win against France will put the French on the back foot as they know the Italians await them in the last fixture.
We believe that if the Dutch can tame the French, they`ll get through!
Date:Saturday May 31 2008
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