View Full Version : France vs. Argentina ... not to be missed!

02-10-2009, 10:43 AM
From goal.com:

10/02/2009 14:21

International Friendly Preview: France - Argentina

Since their last meeting two years ago, France have stagnated at international level, while Argentina hope to become reinvigorated under the leadership of one of the all-time greats...

Kick-Off: Wednesday, February 11, 21:00 CET.
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

This Means War

When France met Argentina at this time of year two seasons ago, a match Javier Saviola would win for the visitors, les Bleus were coming off the back of a strong showing in the World Cup finals - which of course marked the end of an era as Zinedine Zidane retired following the dramatic events of the Berlin final.

Few would have predicted just how significant Zidane’s decision to quit would be for the national team. After a struggle to reach the Euro 2008 finals, Raymond Domenech came under renewed pressure as his side failed miserably during the competition, winning just one point from nine – that being the result of an insipid scoreless draw with Romania.

There have been few signs of an upswing in France’s fortunes since those balmy summer days. Indeed, things have actually threatened to get worse for les Bleus. After an embarrassing defeat away to Austria, the road to the World Cup in South Africa suddenly looked far more treacherous for the French, who would edge Serbia before having to recover from two goals down to salvage a point against Romania.

Sitting five points off the pace in Group 7 (albeit with a game in hand), les Bleus simply have to win both matches of their forthcoming double-header against Lithuania. During the past decade, the challenge of the former Soviet state might have been laughed off; but not so now, as the Lithuanians enjoy a five point cushion over the French.

As a result, Domenech is forced into treating the fixture against Argentina very seriously – “A friendly that is not a friendly,” is how he described the game in his press conference when naming his squad.

There is certainly little room for exciting left-field picks in the side. The selection of Toulouse goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso, who is a long-shot to find any pitch time, is about as adventurous as the squad selection gets.

Indeed, the side that Domenech sends out to start the match should be made up almost entirely of familiar names. William Gallas and Philippe Mexes should form the foundation of the side in the centre of the rearguard while Lassana Diarra and Jeremy Toulalan will be a formidable duo in the centre of midfield.

Meanwhile, les Bleus boast a plethora of world-class attacking options. Even with David Trezeguet consigned to the international dustbin, France can select from the likes of Thierry Henry, Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema, Yoann Gourcuff, Nicolas Anelka and Samir Nasri. This is an impressive arsenal of talent by anyone’s standards; however, Domenech is yet to discover the key to unlocking its potential.

Aiming To Make A Mark

While Domenech struggles to find the ideal composition of his side after six full years in charge of his country, one can be forgiven if Diego Maradona is still somewhat confused as to the make-up of his side. Having been appointed as Argentina’s head coach on a wave of populist fervour in November, the former Napoli ace is taking charge of the Albicelestes for only the second time.

Somewhat poetically, Maradona made his coaching bow on an international stage at Hampden Park, Scotland, the very place where he had scored his first international goal in 1979.

His coaching debut at the Glasgow ground on November 19 was far less notable. Argentina strolled to a routine 1-0 success with a goal from Maxi Rodriguez separating the teams. The South Americans were able to ease through that fixture in third gear but are likely to be pushed significantly harder by les Bleus tomorrow evening.

A tougher test requires better players and so Maradona will have been delighted that the shining light of world football at present, Lionel Messi, managed to coerce Barcelona to release him for this fixture.

Of course the Barcelona star will gather much of the attention – and rightly so; but Argentina are a side burgeoning with offensive talent. Sergio Aguero, at just 20-years-old, is waiting to explode onto the international scene and already has five goals from 15 caps, while the dangers of Carlos Tevez are already known, even if his international record is not particularly overwhelming.

Meanwhile, Italian-based duo German Denis and Ezequiel Lavezzi are both eager to show off their talents at international level. Denis, a brutish striker, will likely be given some game-time while Lavezzi may well be a replacement for Messi.

Class shines throughout the Argentinean side, however. Defensively they should have few worries. Javier Mascherano will be the main man to screen a defence that could boast over 250 caps between the starting back four. Admittedly, Javier Zanetti would provide approximately half of these, but it is unlikely to be a rookie side that Maradona sends out in the south of France.



Raymond Domenech’s squad is almost at full capacity. Aside from the long-term injury problems of players such as Lyon pair Francois Clerc and Sidney Govou, who would both likely be included in the squad if they were fit, les Bleus have been forced to contend with the withdrawal of defensive duo Julien Escude and Gael Clichy.

Jean-Alain Boumsong and Mouhamadou Diarra have been called up in their stead, with the latter, a 22-year-old who plays with Saint-Etienne, making his first appearance in the full team. Also boasting this honour on Wednesday evening will be goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso, though he is unlikely to see any game time.

Possible Stating XI: Lloris; Sagna, Abidal, Mexes, Gallas; L. Diarra, Toulalan; Ribery, Benzema, Gourcuff; Henry


Having just passed the half-way point of the CONMEBOL qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup, Argentina are well-placed to secure an automatic spot in South Africa. However, in third place they cannot be complacent. Maradona cannot afford to experiment too greatly with his side.

Three players drop out of the squad that faced Scotland: Fabricio Coloccini, Cristian Villagra and Jose Ernesto Sosa. Juan-Roman Riquelme is also missing for the Argentines, a decision Maradona justified by stating that the former Villarreal man needs to be ready to play for Boca Juniors when Argentina’s season kicks-off on Friday. Club-mate Sebastian Battaglia is also effectively rested.

Possible Stating XI: Carrizo; Zanetti, Papa, Heinze, Demichellis; Mascherano, Gago; Maxi Rodriguez, Lucho Gonzalez, Messi; Tevez



19/11/2008 D 0-0 vs. Uruguay (h) Friendly
14/10/2008 W 3-1 vs. Tunisia (h) Friendly
11/10/2008 D 2-2 vs. Romania (a) World Cup Qualifier
10/09/2008 W 2-1 vs. Serbia (h) World Cup Qualifier
06/09/2008 L 1-3 vs. Austria (a) World Cup Qualifier
20/08/2008 W 3-2 vs. Sweden (a) Friendly


19/11/2008 W 1-0 vs. Scotland (a) Friendly
15/10/2008 L 0-1 vs. Chile (a) Friendly
11/10/2008 W 2-1 vs. Uruguay (h) World Cup Qualifier
10/09/2008 L 0-1 vs. Peru (a) World Cup Qualifier
06/09/2008 D 1-1 vs. Paraguay (h) World Cup Qualifier
20/08/2008 D 0-0 vs. Belarus (a) Friendly



Olympique Lyonnais forward Karim Benzema is one of a number of players dubbed ‘Generation 87’ to be tipped for greatness. To date, Benzema is the one who threatens to fulfil his promise most convincingly. With speed and strength unrivalled in France, Benzema’s goal scoring record domestically is impressive; he has found the net 37 times in 97 Ligue 1 appearances.

In Europe, ‘Benzinho’ has, arguably, been even more of a threat, particularly this term. A stunning performance against Fiorentina in Italy dragged les Gones to a 3-2 victory that should have been by a far greater margin. However, the young forward showed all the attributes of a top centre-forward that evening. Indeed, with his five goals, no-one can boast more strikes in the competition this term.

At international level, Benzema has yet to really show his best. Perhaps Wednesday will be his night.


Lionel Messi, the 21-year-old sensation from Rosario may only be knee-high to a grasshopper, but the aura he emits on a football pitch is arguably greater than that of any other player in the game at present. Even if he is only given 45 minutes to dazzle the Stade Velodrome crowd, Messi has the potential to do damage like no other.

His record at club level is formidable and he promises an equally impressive international career. Already he has played 33 times for his country, scoring ten goals in the process. This will be his first chance to impress Maradona.

02-10-2009, 04:20 PM
It should be a very good game France has enough talent to match Argentina. There was that transition period of the post Zidane era but that happens to the best of teams. Take a look at England they didn't even qualify for the Euro they lost to Croatia. but people still consider them to be a good team.

02-11-2009, 04:15 AM
Last night I watched the match between Brazil and Italy played in Emirates Stadium (London)... That was a fantastic performance by Brazil. They scored 2 goals by Elano (a super team work only feasible by Brazilian players) and Rubinho (an absolutely must see goal by Rubinho) in the first half.
Despite being a friendly match, the intensity and the speed of the game was unbelievably high. Another good thing to see was Ronaldinho playing a fab/magical football again. I have to add that the first goal scored by Italy (Grosso, equally an extraordinary goal) was unfairly ruled out by the ref. That could have changed the face of the match but nevertheless, Brazil dominated completely the World Champions...

02-11-2009, 10:48 AM
Last night I watched the match between Brazil and Italy played in Emirates Stadium (London)

wow ... you don't get more international than that!!! I guess it's sign of times we live in.

I wish I had a chance to watch that game.

02-12-2009, 04:50 AM
wow ... you don't get more international than that!!! I guess it's sign of times we live in.

I wish I had a chance to watch that game.
I wish I could go actually to London and see the match live in Stadium. Tickets were sold at Sterling Pound 30.00 only! The match had nothing short of a world cup semi-final or should I say final...