France Sweden Euro 2012

Laurent Blanc’s Les Blues came into this game with improved labels. Yet, despite the number of high profile and very skillful athletes in the squad, this flavorless performance justified anything but their potential threat to title contenders Spain and Germany in the coming rounds.

Holding the English and beating the Ukrainians, in a sense, raised hopes of a strong finish from the French in this Championship. But tonight’s game rather raised questions than hopes. Questions of them competing against stronger teams (Spain or Italy) in the next round!

Unfortunately, France at the moment lives down to the apparent sentiment that it carried in the past.

Blending a mixture of youth and experience against the Swedes, the manager hoped to create a lot of crafty scenarios with his band of naturalized imports: Benzema, Nasri, Ben Arfa, Vila and Diarra along with Ribery (only player of French ancestry). That didn’t work.

In middle of some good moments from the French, the story just drifted awkwardly towards the Swedes as they created and missed easy sitters while France continued to bump up against the 6-foot wall of the Swedish defense.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

It was difficult to even pick out a highlight of what I have watched till the 54th minute, which is when Ibrahimovic decided to pull out the spectacular. Yes, he did. Perfect technique to score from a sideway scissor kick, while maintaining a beautiful hang time. His desire to score a goal in this Euro came out purely innovated and will be considered for one of the goal’s of the tournament.

The entire 90 minutes came down to how well the players managed to implement their roles. Blanc’s known for providing his group with plenty of flexibility. That in the recent past has resulted in satisfying performances.

The French’s were too ponderous, too monotonous and too methodical, not enough runners off the ball and neither was there width. The Swedes will not be moving on but regained their pride with this deserved win.

You can guess the rest. The on pitch performance was relatively lackluster that it actually forced me to watch the American version of “Death at a Funeral” at very frequent intervals. Not as funny as the British version though.

Time to look forward to the quarterfinals.

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