To start with, during this month, there would be some great sporting events like the Wimbledon, British open golf and the greatest sporting extravaganza on earth, the football world cup. Yes, this is a cricket blog and I do like to blog mainly about cricket, but I also like motorsports, tennis, football and many other sports. So, I would like to have a look at least a few matches in the football world up and of course, the Wimbledon.
Today, all eyes will be on South Africa as the world cup kicks off in the rainbow nation with the Bafana Bafana side meeting Mexico and the French team playing Uruguay. I would like to preview both the matches.
First up, I would look at France v Uruguay as I'm more familiar with players of both teams! Both France and Uruguay struggled during the qualifying stage of the tournament and had to take the route of play offs to qualify for the world cup. Uruguay squeezed past Costa Rica who, had incidentally qualified for the last world cup in Germany and the French team qualified with the help of Henry's infamous handball against the Irish team. If I'm right, the French team even struggled against teams like Lithuania and Faroe Islands in the qualifying round!
If I look at the French team, they have few players who, seem to be well past their best and the most notable among them is Henry as he found himself on the bench at Barcelona and likely won't start in the match against Uruguay.
The French team would likely play with a 4-3-3 formation, partly because of the absence of Diarra, who was able to do the job of a holding midfielder, but has been ruled out of the world cup and they perhaps want to look at a new strategy.
The French team have played warm up matches against weak teams like China, Costa Rica and Tunisia, so it is hard to judge how well the new formation would work, but they even lost to China which is a worry.
In my opinion, the other major worry can be, Malouda, the talented footballer likes to play further up in the field on the left wing but for that Ribery has to sacrifice by moving to the right and that won't happen. I just don't think Malouda is happy playing in the centre midfield. France also may struggle to score goals as Anelka has been in poor form when playing for the national team and they tend to depend a lot on the left back Evra in the defence..
Division in the camp
I have also seen lots of articles about the French squad being divided and aren't playing as a team. For instance, I have seen a few saying that Anelka refused to pass to Gourcuff in the friendly match against Costa Rica and with football being a team game, it won't help France.
The coach Domenech has been rightly criticised as he seems to be bereft of ideas and not picking the Arsenal playmaker Nasri though, he is perhaps better than Diaby looks like a poor decision taken by the coach. France have also left out Real Madrid striker Benzema though, it can be said that he wasn't in good form in the La Liga.
Ribery, Malouda, Evra and the very good goalkeeper Lloris.
Unlike their opponents, Uruguay don't have problems like infighting, but as I said, they too struggled during the qualifying stage of the tournament, but Uruguay played better than France during their warm up matches as Uruguay defeated both Switzerland and Israel.
Uruguay would likely play with their tried and tested formation of 3-5-2. The strategy may work against France as it may push Malouda and Guorcuff into more defensive roles. Uruguay no doubt would depend on their formidable strike force of Forlan and Saurez for the goals.
Forlan, Saurez and maybe Gonzalez.
I think it would be a closely contested match. The disharmony in the French camp, lack of penetration in the attack and a suspect defence made up of Gallas who, has been injury prone of late and Abidal may mean that Forlan and co. can spring a surprise against France.
Finally, I just hope that on the first day of the world cup, we can see some very good football and please, we won't want a repeat of the dull match played between Uruguay and France in the 2002 world cup held in Japan and South Korea!