French Football Continues To Struggle: How Can It Be Fixed?

Andrew Jordan@@Andrew_JordanSenior Writer ISeptember 7, 2010

The French National Team before their 2-0 loss to Mexico in the World Cup
The French National Team before their 2-0 loss to Mexico in the World CupChristof Koepsel/Getty Images

Once one of the proudest footballing nations in the world, the French National Football Team has witnessed its program collapse since the retirement of Zinedine Zidane after France lost in the 2006 World Cup final to Italy.

After that World Cup, France saw their program start to collapse with the failures of Euro 2008 that saw France finish last overall in Group C to skirmishes in the tunnel after a loss and of course coach Raymond Domenech proposing to his girlfriend on national tv after getting knocked out of the tournament.

But after Euro 2008, France continued to see its stock fall when they failed to earn automatic qualification into the World Cup, which paired the French up with Ireland.

And that playoff with Ireland gave birth to Thierry Henry's infamous handball that gave France an ill-deserved spot in the World Cup.

And that trip to the World Cup saw Nicolas Anelka get into a verbal confrontation with Domenech (who at the time was a lame-duck coach) and France subsequently lost to Mexico by a 2-0 scoreline.

But after that loss, all 22 remaining members of France's World Cup squad revolted against Domenech over what happened to Anelka by locking themselves onto the team bus and forced Domenech to read a statement saying that the players were refusing to train over what happened to Anelka.

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And France ended up losing to South Africa, forcing les Blues to finish last overall in Group A and saw a national outcry in France due to the disappointment in South Africa.

Due to the failure in the World Cup, Anelka has been forced to retire from the French national side, and Evra has a five match suspension with some members of the French government wanting Evra to be banned indefinitely.

And new manager Laurent Blanc cannot get France to get out of their funk.

First, Blanc suspended all of the members of the French squad in France's friendly against Norway, and France lost to Belarus in their first Euro 2012 qualifier.

With all of this in mind, one must wonder what exactly can be done to get France back to their standing as a world football power.

But in order to be fixed, France will need to put together a massive effort that could see them fail to make it into Euro 2012.

The first part of this effort will be to install more youth into the national side on a full-time basis.

This means recalling Yoann Gourcuff, Charles N'Zogbia and Hatem Ben Arfa for the National Team for every match over the footballers that took away France's pride in the World Cup.

These three players (along with Samir Nasri and Loic Remy, both of whom will miss this match due to injury) are extremely important to France's development, and need to be on the pitch as much as possible.

The next step in this process will be to expel as many footballers who were involved in France's breakdown in South Africa from the program as soon as possible.

This means the permanent departure of Patrice Evra and any of the other ringleaders of France's embarrassment from the French national team, with no chance of ever returning.

These players are cancers on a growing squad, and should never again return to France.

The third action that must be done is for the players to listen to Laurent Blanc.

Blanc wants his players to recognize that they are playing for France by making them learn the national anthem and to realize that they are playing for something bigger than themselves.

And that step is something that Domenech never did, but is a step that these players must live their lives by, as their job is to represent France, not themselves.

The final step in order to help France to move forward is to make sure that they do not ever forget the actions over what happened in the 2010 World Cup.

These players must make sure to remember the rift that developed due to the lack of trust between management and the players, and to always keep that in the back of their mind.

This must also be true for management, as they must keep as close as they can to the players, and make sure to promptly stop any conflicts.

Going forward, the French national football team find themselves in a position that no other country is in or would want to be in.

They are a power that needs a complete buildup that is requiring the players that cause problems out and the fresh, young talent the chance to really prove themselves.

If everything goes right, France could find themselves in the position they were just four years ago as a World Cup finalist.

Without question, the talent is there for that event to happen, but more than just talent is needed in order to become a World Cup finalist.

A strong foundation must also be in place, and right now, France management must equal the potential that exists on the pitch and make sure that they do the best possible job to keep France on the right track to become a power again.


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