Rating the France Players Against Germany
2013 started with a defeat for France against Germany, their first in 26 years to the three-time world champions. Last time they were beaten by Die Mannschaft was in 1987, a 2-1 loss in Paris. Since then, les Bleus have improved their record against the Germans and boasted five wins and a draw from six games heading into the clash.
Twelve months ago, France beat Germany in Bremen in preparation for Euro 2012 and looked imperious. Now, Didier Deschamps is picking up the pieces from Laurent Blanc’s reign after further international disappointment last summer, and it shows.
Despite excellent performances from Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery, les Bleus were undone twice in the second half by a well-drilled German side. Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller cancelled out Valbuena’s first-half opener for the hosts shortly after the break, before Sami Khedira gave Germany a hard-fought victory.
Hugo Lloris continued once more as captain, a sign that Deschamps is canny enough to know that changing his leader with no other obvious option to replace him is unwise.
Leading by example, Lloris was impressive. The Tottenham Hotspur man had a busy match, and made a number of good saves. His experience thus far with Andre Villas-Boas’ side has improved his game since leaving Lyon.
Pre-match, there was some confusion as to whether Didier Deschamps had dropped Bacary Sagna in favour of Mathieu Debuchy. Named in the starting XI, Sagna returned to the team after more than a year’s absence.
There were some good bursting runs and cutbacks from the Arsenal man, particularly for Moussa Sissoko in the opening minutes. However, there was little else other than that of note for Sagna.
Arsenal teammate Laurent Koscielny helped keep Germany at bay in the first half, putting in a strong showing. He formed a good partnership with Mamadou Sakho at the back, with both staying disciplined and giving the Germans little room for manoeuvre.
He went off at half time with a clean sheet, to be replaced by Valencia’s Adil Rami.
Sakho covered well for Patrice Evra when the left-back bombed forward, particularly in the first half. He was solid in defence as he and Koscielny kept Germany at bay in the first half.
Good first half, but less convincing second. It is clear that he and Rami don’t work as well as Sakho/Yanga-Mbiwa or Sakho/Koscielny.
Continues as Deschamps’ only ever-present in France side. Has played all 540 minutes of the former Marseille man’s tenure so far.
After a slow start, Patrice Evra got better and looked good going forward at times in the first half.
Still too attacking from left-back and relied on Sakho and Blaise Matuidi to cover him when he moved up field.
Quiet second half.
The Newcastle man looked good in bits and pieces, creating a few chances and nearly equalising at the end but for Per Mertesacker’s block.
However, he was unable to impose himself fully on the match and will be disappointed with his performances. Hardly touched the ball for large spells of the game.
A solid but unspectacular display, covering for Evra at times when the left-back went forward. He and Yohan Cabaye failed to really get into the game but did a good job screening the defence in the first half.
Substituted for Etienne Capoue at half-time who fared worse.
An assist for Valbuena’s goal for the Newcastle man, it was a cushioned header from a rebounding free-kick, but that was as good as it got.
Missed a good early chance from Sagna’s pass, but Moussa Sissoko looked lost at times in his more advanced role.
An impressive performance from le Petit Velo who continues to look impressive for les Bleus under former boss Didier Deschamps.
Ribery and Valbuena linked up superbly throughout the match, and the Marseille man scored a well-taken but rare headed goal.
He was pulling all the strings along with former OM teammate Ribery. He looked full of confidence, showed good passing and was playing at pace, something France need with the cumbersome presence of Karim Benzema at the point of the attack.
It was a brilliant performance from the Bayern Munich man, despite not scoring a goal and the overall defeat.
His driving runs and storming performance where he was providing everything for his teammates is something we have only seen fleetingly from Ribery.
A reflection perhaps of his comfort at playing against familiar German opposition on a weekly basis in the Bundesliga, but an important signal that he still has an appetite for international success with les Bleus.
He could have equalised late on but for Rene Adler’s save.
It was another disappointing showing from Benzema. The question is: how many more do we have to put up with? Deschamps appears to be losing patience with the Real Madrid man.
Lacking in confidence, he had a few chances but is still failing to illustrate why he deserves to be a starting international forward. Admittedly his free kick that led to the goal by crashing off the crossbar was lovely, but apart from that he was poor.
In his last 10 games with les Bleus, his stats read as follows: 10 offsides, 41 shots and zero goals.
It speaks for itself.
Substitutes: Adil Rami
On for Laurent Koscielny at half time, Rami was unspectacular. He came on with France having not conceded and finished the game with les Bleus having shipped two goals.
Criticisms of not being a football-playing centre-back appear justified. Rami demonstrates brilliant strength, but little technicality or intelligence when moving the ball out of defence.
Substitutes: Etienne Capoue
On for Blaise Matuidi at half-time, he gave ball away for Thomas Muller’s equaliser and looked short of confidence after a few encouraging recent displays.
Substitutes: Olivier Giroud
On for Sissoko after 80 minutes, he made a difference and has more impact than Benzema.
He saw a late goal ruled out for offside.
Substitutes: Jeremy Menez
Menez came on for Valbuena after 86 minutes, but it would be unfair to judge him on just four minutes on the pitch.