5 Reasons Why France will not win the World Cup in Brazil
France as a soccer nation has the ability to dazzle and shock their fans in equal measure. Their performances in the last three World Cups have been as unpredictable as Shia LaBeouf’s recent antics. They went into the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea as favorites but were knocked out in the group stage. Then, when not a lot of people bet on them in 2006, France went all the way to the final to lose to Italy on penalties. 2010 saw the players’ revolt against their manager and the disastrous campaign saw them ousted once again in the group stage.
The entire country will have its hopes up as the French team takes on the best of the best in Brazil this summer. But I don’t think they are anywhere near to winning the World Cup. De quoi?! – Here is why:
What do Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Bacary Sagna, Patrice Evra, Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery have in common, apart from them all being French of course? These were the six players that flew to South Africa for the last World Cup and have been called for the provisional 23 man squad for Brazil as well. Some of them didn’t play much or at all in the 2010 World Cup.
A new breed of talented French players seems to be emerging but this will be their first time on the big stage. There is no substitute for experience and talent. Both these aspects for me go hand in hand, you miss one and you are gone. France has talent but they lack experience and this World Cup is a bit too soon for the likes of Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi. Four years from now we might consider France as favorites but unfortunately this will not be their year.
2- Lack of Confidence
“There are six or seven teams out there that head into the competition to win it, but France are not among those teams. Our first objective is to win our opening game against Honduras on June 15. The last time France won a World Cup group stage match was against Togo in 2006. We are no longer among the elite teams in Europe or worldwide. I am a realist and keeping my feet on the ground. Is France’s level that of the first leg against Ukraine or that of the return? We have to rely on what we did in the second game and try and replicate that each match.” – Didier Deschamps speaking in April.
This is the manager of the French national team. He is the man who has been handed the task of putting France back on the map as a soccer powerhouse. A lot of people will look at this statement and say that this is an attempt to play down expectations and they wouldn’t be wrong. The point here is that Deschamps knows that his team isn’t good enough to match the best in the world and he is simply telling like it is. Full points for honesty, zero for instilling confidence into your team and nation.
France had to qualify for the World Cup via playoffs and were 2-0 down after the first leg against Ukraine. They won the second leg 3-0 in Paris and survived just by the skin of their teeth. Deschamps is aware of his team’s limitations and he wouldn’t have dismissed his chances if he really thought the team was good enough to at least reach the semifinals. France just doesn’t look like a confident unit right now and there are problems that need to be fixed before they get back on track.
Let’s take a look at this section of Deschamps’ statement:
“The last time France won a World Cup group stage match was against Togo in 2006.”
Shocking! I know. This is how far France has fallen and it will take them more than just a little time to fit all the pieces together. The pressure to right the wrongs of the last few years will be absolutely immense. The weight of expectations is incredible.
The French public wants its team to succeed and that pressure can make you do a lot of weird things. These are unrealistic expectations from a team that is not quite up there among the best yet. This will pull them down to the ground faster than even gravity itself. Look at England as an example.
4- Better Teams
This one is easy. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there are teams more talented than France in the World Cup. Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany all have teams that are (at least on paper) much better equipped to win the tournament. This is without factoring in the likes of Uruguay and Colombia who certainly will not be pushovers either.
France, if they come up against any of these sides, will most probably come out on the wrong side of the result. These teams have too much tactical flexibility and firepower for France to handle. Yes, upsets do happen but there are just way too many teams France must defeat to win the World Cup and I don’t see that happening.
Then history is against them as well. France have not fared well whenever the World Cup has been held out of Europe. They qualified for the World Cup in 1950 which was held in Brazil but withdrew from it. This is France’s record in the other World Cups that were held outside European borders:
|Year||Host Country||France’s Performance|
|1962||Chile||Did Not Qualify|
|1970||Mexico||Did Not Qualify|
|2002||Japan-South Korea||Group Stage|
|2010||South Africa||Group Stage|
Apart from the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where they came third (still failed to win the World Cup mind you), every time the World Cup has been played out of Europe, France have either failed to qualify or have not made it past the group stage. For a nation that is considered as a traditional soccer “heavyweight” this is one appalling record.
The World Cup will be played in Brazil this time around and well if I were French I would pray for the team to go past the group stage first before I even contemplate winning the entire thing. This is how bad their record is outside of France.
Hands up if you think France still has any chance of lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy on June 13, 2014? There is no chance they will go all the way this time around but like I said they might be in with a shout to win the World Cup in 2018. After all that edition will be played in Russia and the last time I checked Russia was still a part of Europe. Au revoir.