France Camp Focus – FFF name Blanc as Domenech’s post-World Cup replacement

The French Football Federation (FFF) has come to agreement with former World Cup winner Laurent Blanc to take over once the controversial Raymond Domenech leaves his post after South Africa 2010. Blanc had quit Bordeaux during the weekend to pave the way for his new adventure with Les Bleus. Domenech has been one of the most controversial figures in French football in recent years and despite the support of the FFF he has been criticised by everyone from the Press to former players particularly from the famous France 1998 winning squad.

In hindsight the agreement between the FFF and Blanc should have no effect on France’s squad for the current World Cup yet could have positive repercussions on the future of L’Equipe Tricolore considering the respect Blanc garners amongst former and current international players. The main concern here is Domenech’s reaction after claiming he was not told about Blanc’s hiring, immediately reacting by declaring coaching a club is different than managing a national team. If the current France Coach feels a certain level of adversity then this could lead to instability within the French camp. Choosing Blanc might be the right decision since he guided Bordeaux’s impressive displays in the Champions League group stage as well as the Ligue 1 and Coupe de la Ligue double in 2008/09 season yet the timing might be off. Bordeaux were unhappy with the approach from the FFF and were looking to keep Blanc who was one of the candidates for the national team post back in 2004 before the position eventually went to Domenech.

Blanc will bring vast experience as a player having represented France in just under 100 caps and forming the backbone of the team which won World Cup 1998 despite the sour personal note as he missed on the final against Brazil due to suspension. Blanc will look to restore flaking French pride following a dismal campaign during Euro 2008, although with South Africa yet to even begin, Domenech has one last chance to do that himself.

Domenech received some bright news on the injury front as William Gallas has returned to training taking part in a light session and kicking a ball for the first time since March’s game for Arsenal against Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final first-leg. Domenech considers the Arsenal player as the leader of his defensive line. The Coach will most likely wait till the last minute to send the official 23 man list to FIFA in order to give ample time to Gallas to prove his fitness considering his choices for defence might hinge on whether the Gunners defender can feature for Les Bleus or not.

In the meantime another defender, Patrice Evra has boasted the French national team has some of the best players in the world for every position as the likes of Franck Ribery and Thierry Henry will be leading the charge for World Cup glory. The left-back who can deputise in the centre of defense in case of injuries is considered by some as one of the best in the world in his position yet his declaration comes as a surprise as the French were dismal in Euro 2008 and struggled in the qualifiers for the World Cup.

It is unlikely Evra’s statement will heap pressure on his compatriots considering France will not enter the tournament as one of the favourites with that privilege reserved to the likes of Brazil and Spain, but France could still benefit from having less pressure placed on the squad where possible.

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