Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blanc has created a new-look France

France were a laughing stock at the World Cup in 2010 but Laurent Blanc has come in and stabilised the ship, meaning the French are now a dark horse to win the Euro 2012 tournament.

Roll back the clock two years to South Africa, and Raymond Domenech’s squad was blighted by in-fighting and other problems that saw them limp out in the group stages amid a mutiny led by full-back Patrice Evra.
Blanc, who was part of France’s team that won the World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2000, was brought into overhaul the side and take them forward and that is a job he has done in impressive fashion.

Under the former defender, France are unbeaten in 21 matches, finished top of their qualifying group, and will be full of confidence going into their Group D campaign, where they face England, Ukraine and Sweden.

France midfielder Yohan Cabaye has said Blanc is the reason behind their resurgence over the last two years and reckons he made them forget the “complete failure” of the World Cup and these changes can be seen on the pitch.

“He has instilled a group mentality and team spirit like you find in a club,” said Cabaye. "We have been winning matches and qualified directly for the Euros.

“Now the greater challenge is to perform well during the competition and to go as far as possible. It is important to do ourselves justice and be positive.”

Blanc has stated he wants his France side to be more focused in defence after they allowed Iceland to take a two-goal lead in their recent warm-up match, challenging his players to rediscover the solid defensive base they had during qualifying.

Need some help with your Euro 2012 bets? Then why not read the latest Harry Redknapp Euro Tips blog? Betfair have signed up the Spurs manager for this summer’s festival of football so make sure you log-on now for the latest Harry Redknapp Tips ahead of England’s first game against France on Monday.

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