France

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPASTIMES -

AF­TER an event­ful and con­tro­ver­sial qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign, France head to South Africa in 2010 hop­ing to put the dis­ap­point­ment of los­ing in the fi­nal to Italy last time around in Ger­many be­hind them.

Against all the odds, Ray­mond Domenech is still at the helm of Les Bleus, who stum­bled their way to the fi­nals via a play-off victory over Ire­land, af­ter fin­ish­ing be­hind Ser­bia in their qual­i­fy­ing group.

Ques­tions are still be­ing asked as to how a squad that in­cludes the likes of Franck Ribery, Karim Ben­zema, Henry, Yoann Gour­cuff, Pa­trice Evra, Samir Nasri, Ni­co­las Anelka and new sen­sa­tion An­drePierre Gignac could come so close to miss­ing out on qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Domenech may have taken France to the World Cup fi­nal in 2006 be­fore even­tu­ally los­ing on penal­ties but the string of lack­lus­tre per­for­mances since then have fail to in­still con­fi­dence that France can go one step fur­ther in South Africa.

If Domenech, or any po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor, can harness the mul­ti­tude of foot­balling tal­ent present in the cur­rent French squad, then Les Bleus will once again be con­sid­ered a ma­jor threat. The star: Bar­ring in­jury, Franck Ribery, 26, will be ex­pected to pro­vide the creative spark in mid­field for Les Bleus.

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