France scored late but they scored and thus came away with a draw that feels like a victory against Spain in a game that no one gave France a chance.
The New Broom: Didier Dechamps
Ahead of the game, L’Equipe and other media saw the game as ‘Mission Impossible’ for France. On the day of the match, Le Parisien demanded its readers to ‘Pray For Them.’ The goal by Olivier Giroud came late, however it came and that is what counts. The draw against Spain was not their biggest success so far but surely it was the right answer after the defeat against Japan five days earlier. And the right answer for themselves and their new coach. This draw must feel like a victory for them and certainly the point was deserved as they dominated Spain for long periods.
Against the same opposition, Les Bleus looked pale and lacked initiative and inspiration in their quarter-final meeting in June. Further, it showed that Blanc did not get the team selection right for the game. After the tournament once more an investigation had to be launched by the French Football Federation (FFF) into player behaviour. Samir Nasri has been suspended and has not yet played for Didier Deschamps. After the debacle at the World Cup in South Africa Laurent Blanc attempted to rebuild some working relations with the media again. This failed after what happened in the Ukraine during the summer. It did not so much concern Blanc himself, the players were and still are the problem. Their reaction to criticism often borders on the ridiculous and suggests that for some the media are considered superfluous and a nuisance. That won’t go away over night and not with a new coach.
However, 5 games into his job are not enough to decide whether he might turn France around for good. They won’t be favourites for Brazil 2014 either; there is just not enough time for Deschamps to mould the team according to his ideas in less than 2 years time. Euro 2016, held in France, will be the big target for him and his team. A lot of work awaits him but the mood appears to be different. In German there is a proverb: Neue Besen kehren gut, which equates to the new broom sweeps clean. Didier Deschamps, the captain of the 1998 World Cup winning side, might just be the right man to steer France into a brighter future.