Lets turn for a moment to talk about soccer, an important sport globally, by talking about a World Cup Qualifier between France v Austria at, the Stade de France. The crowed was different, very different from an American sports game. I’ve been to games in Los Angeles, Sand Diego, Phoenix and Tempe and it was very different in Paris. Lets start with the crowd treatment of the coach.
French coach, manager, Raymond Domenech is not popular, he was harshly booed when announced. France is in the playoff round of the World Cup, so there is hope the team will make it to the final. Still, hope aside, results, and wins, Donenech as an authority figuregets no respect from the fans, perhaps, even so from the players because there was a publicized dispute between players and Donenech. This is different from the United States.
Coaches in America, are respected, when winning. I can not remember a time when the coach was booed. Sure, players and coaches dispute. It happens in sports, life, conflict of personality. But, fans outwardly expressing disapproval of coaching decisions is something I have not witnessed at: Angels, Chargers, Rams, Diamond Backs, Suns, Galaxy, and very mildly witnessed at Sun Devil Football games.
Though France has had it hard qualifying for the World Cup. The team has been deprived of some of its great talent, left in imbo with a questionable identity. There is no doubt in my mind Thierry Henry is world class, he is class, but aside from him, and the emerging Benzema, France has had little left with the disappearance of Vierra, poor fitness of Ribery has also left a hole, and Sydny Govu, is struggling to fill it.
There defense is solid, but, has yet to be put to a powerhouse test. What will happen in the World Cup when France could face, Brazil, Argentia, Germany, Italy, England, or Spain? Then as in Euro 2008 the holes in the French football team could be exposed. But, then again, with an inform, Ribery, continued growth of Benzema, and health for Henry, France could be such an attacking force.
The fun think about soccer,(futbol, Fussebal, Football, le Foot, calico) is we get to wait and see. The word cup is in summer 2010, so much can happen between now and then. Who knows, Zi Zou could come out of retirement. As long as they don’t draw Italy, that should be fine. First things first France must qualify.
FIFA, has handed them a emerald of a draw in Ireland. But, as football pundits know Ireland can be tricky. Shay Given is a world class keeper, and they are tough to score on. Chance could have a disastrous effect on L’equipe and they could be held to a 0-0 draw on the first leg and a draw would see Ireland through. Any other score line even a loss would be better than a 0-0 draw.
The effects on the psyche for the return leg could see another French revolution, this time against Raymond Donenech and L’equipe. But we shall have to wait a few weeks to see how history unfolds for L’equipe Francaise. For now, all hope for health, the return of Ribery, and the continued growth of Benzema. Or maybe an Andre Peirre Gignac will magically carry them through to the finals. As they say, que sera, sera.