Steve Mandanda of Marseille will probably start and Hugo Lloris of Lyon is a great backup if that is the case. Definitely one of the best clubs overall department by department in all of the Cup and one of the strongest defenses around. And they are solid in the net with two of the French Leagues finest.
The defense is a very solid unit that will be anchored by Arsenal center back William Gallas and he may be joined by league teammates Bacary Sagna, & Gael Clichy and Phillipe Mexes of Roma is also a solid force in the middle. Barca’s Eric Abidal is also a bubble defender and Patrice Evra of Man U is also a reliable starter. This club is also well known for sitting back a few tough defensive midfielders and allowing their top four to do all the offensive work and with the talent they have up top that is a fine strategy to allow six men back.
Grade: B +
Bayern’s Franck Ribery is considered one of the best playmakers in the world from the midfield position and if he can remain fit for the Cup then they have one of the strongest units. Gourcuff is also an outstanding player and the club has many great defensive midfielders to choose from as well. Many great players included in this unit and Vieira just might have a spot on the roster as well.
Grade: A –
Thierry “Meat Hand” Henry is still the leader of the forwards and he is joined by young Karim Benzema and Nicolas Anelka making for one of the toughest three headed monsters to stop in the game. No more Trezeguet, but lots of tremendous speed and playmaking skills in this loaded group of brilliant goal scorers. One of the best forward units in the tourney.
They had a stinky WCQ, but lucked out by getting the draw that put them in South Africa’s group. They are hands down (sorry for that) the best squad in the first group and they should advance on to the final sixteen spots. They have the potential to go very far, but not the recent international form. We will have to see what they can do, but they will advance to at least the final 16 spots which is pretty good considering they might not deserve to even be in the Cup. Everybody is rooting against them though and that never helps.
Grade: B +