Well, going into this Euro 2008, I didn't think that France had that great of a chance, honestly. With Henry and Viera hurt, and the great Zizou no longer a fixture on the national team, I though France's chances were pretty dim.
Still, thought they might have been able to advance to the knockout stage.
But, of course, we didn't!
After watching the three disastrous games, there was a number of places that one could see faults.
The most noticeable change I saw on the field was the lack of leadership. In the past, Zidane was not just a great player, but a field marshall as well. He would tell his players were to go, what to do and he would argue bad calls. Basically, he would be a 'part' of the game, not just a player in the game.
This time, there was no leadership. Nobody as really stood up and said 'hey, I want to be the leader of this team'. Whenever France was called for a foul, the players rarely argued the call. That is the difference between the Zizou and the post-Zizou era.
But to say the lack of leadership is the reason that France did horrible would just be a joke.
Ninety percent of the reason that France lost was Raymond Domenech!
So, bear with me while I stand on my soapbox and let it all out.
First....player selection! Did anyone else question this line up? Well, lets just look at the players that Domenech sent and did send.
David Trezeguet? Where was he? Is he still alive? You would have to wonder if he was if you watch the French national team with regularity. This was the man who had the golden goal that lead France to their Euro 2000 Championship. But Domenech just doesn't want the guy to play. Why? Is it that there is a rift between Henry and Trezegeut? Who knows? Still, where was France's 3rd all-time goal scorer?
Nicholas Anelka? Why was HE there. I can understand why Henry, Benzema and Gomis were selected to the team. Buy why Anelka? He has proven nothing on the international level. He doesn't have great skills. He is a ball hog, and always tries to do everything himself (though one can say the same about Henry as well). Still, this guy shouldn't ever be allowed near the French national team!
Who should have been on the squad? Well, let me list them: Trezegeut, Djibril Cissé, Givet and Silvestre would be a great addition to the team.
Who shouldn't be on the squad? Here ya go: Anelka, Francois Clerc and, yes, I hate to say it, Gregory Coupet.
I have always been a Coupet fan, but I think his age has caught up with him. He rarely moved. I just stood there and just watch the goals scored on him. While, on the other hand, Mickael Landreau (who I feel should be the starting goaltender) wasn't even put on the squad.
So, that is just who should have been there and who shouldn't have been there with the players that were either on the squad or recent call-ups. But there are other players that Domenech hasn't even looked at but have turned heads in France. Some of these players are Mamadou Niang of Marseille, Rafik Saifi of Lorient and Johan Audel (I'm going out on a limb on this one) would all be great additions to the team.
But it wasn't just the selections, it was Domenech's choice of starters as well. Game three, against Italy, he doesn't start Willy Sangol? WHAT? That doesn't make any sense whatsoever.
So who replaces him? Francois Clerc? Clerc for Sangol? CRAZY! That is nearly as crazy as me trying to trade Tom Brady for Rex Grossman in my fantasy football league. That god my friends put some sense into me. But it seems nobody is putting Domenech in his place.
Alright, honestly, I could go on for hours. I can blame many people. I can blame Arnese Wenger, teaching Henry to make his goals look 'pretty'. Thanks to that kind of teaching, Henry kicks the goal over the net instead of an easy goal in the net that would have changed the dynamics of the French-Holland game.
Ok, ok, I will quit now! The main point here....get rid of Domenech NOW. Don't wait, can his ass.
And while I have heard a lot that Didier Deschamps is pretty much the front runner, I think the FFF should strongly look at Laurent Blanc as well.