France are sweating on the fitness of star forward Kylian Mbappe after the PSG striker was injured in training after a tackle from Adil Rami. The “ramifications” (apologies for the pun), could be huge, with Les Bleus set to open their World Cup campaign four days from now against the Socceroos.
Mbappe has been a key player for France and scored the only goal in their last match- a 1-1 draw against the United States in Lyon.
Rami was chosen for the French squad because Laurent Koscielny could not make it due to injury, leaving Deschamps requiring an experienced right footed defender amidst the prevalence of left footers in the squad. Continue reading
The doubts surrounding Antoine Griezmann’s club future intensified after the French international striker chose not to announce a decision in today’s press conference. Griezmann was expected to make a major announcement but instead said “I’m sorry for the wait, but today is not the day”
Rumours have linked Griezmann with a switch to Barcelona while other outlets have claimed he will stay at the Wanda Metropolitano with Atleti expected to sign Thomas Lemar to strengthen their squad. There have also been some rumours about a potential switch to United, but national coach Dider Deschamps has also been quoted saying that his star striker will stay in Spain Continue reading
Nice have confirmed the appointment of former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira as their new manager. The job with OGCN is Vieira’s first in Europe- he was previously in charge of New York City in the MLS. Rumours had him as Arsene Wenger’s possible successor at the Emirates, but he has chosen to return to his native France to replace Lucien Favre, who left Les Aiglons for Borussia Dortmund this summer. Continue reading
France finished their pre World Cup friendlies with a disappointing 1-1 draw with the United in Lyon. Coach Didier Deschamps had said before the game that the lineup he fielded against the MNT would be similar to the XI one could expect to start in the World Cup opener against Australia. Despite a poor performance against Italy, Paul Pogba was chosen in the lineup, partnering N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi in the centre of the park.
France’s starting lineup v United States 2018:- Lloris, Sidibe, Varane, Mendy, Umtiti, Matuidi, Kante, Pogba, Griezmann, Giroud, Mbappe
The United States fielded a young lineup, with Bobby Wood the only player with real experience in the starting XI. The rest were players with less than international caps, with the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and Joe Corona kept on the bench by coach Dave Sarachan. Continue reading
Under fire midfielder Paul Pogba will look to make a compelling case for his inclusion in France’s starting XI when Les Bleus take on the United States in their final friendly before the World Cup. Didier Deschamps’ side have won their last three games but Pogba’s form in their 2-1 victory over Nice has raised more questions than answers with pundits and former players both calling for the Manchester United medio’s exclusion. Continue reading
Roberto Mancini suffered his first defeat as Italy manager as the Azzurri went down 3-1 to Didier Deschamps’ France in Nice. The former Man City and Zenit gaffer had started his tenure in charge of the national team with a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia, but the Euro 2016 finalists were too strong for them and ran out deserved winners on Saturday night. Continue reading
Could Anthony Martial leave Manchester United this summer? Rumours surrounding the French winger’s future have again started surfacing after he was one of the United players criticised by manager Jose Mourinho after their 1-0 loss to Brighton at the Amex- the first time that the Red Devils have lost away to all three promoted teams in the same season since the PL began.
Mourinho gave starts to both Martial and Marcus Rashford, but was left less than impressed with what he say. The Portuguese gaffer didn’t name Martial directly, but the comments below clearly refer to the former Monaco star.
“For many months you are always asking me why this player doesn’t play, why that player doesn’t play, why this player is on the bench, why always Lukaku?”
Marseille’s French centre half Rolando scored a crucial extra time goal to stave off a brave comeback from Austrian side FC Salzburg and send L’OM into a final meeting against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
Check out L’Equipe’s headline for the goal- Rolando Ballon D’Or!
The goal was perhaps a tad controversial, with Salzburg claiming Continue reading
Hatem Ben Arfa has confirmed that he will be leaving French giants Paris Saint-Germain this summer. The forward, who moved to Paris after a great season with Nice in 2015/16, has fallen out of favour at Parc des Princes and has not even made a single appearance in the current 2017/18 season, seemingly frozen out by Unai Emery. HBA’s last PSG appearance was in the Cup almost a year back (against Avranches)
Ben Arfa confirmed his departure via Instagram
So what next for HBA? Continue reading
France bounced back from Friday’s surprise loss to Colombia as they beat World Cup hosts Russia 3-1 in Saint Petersburg.
Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps rang in the changes, with seven new players introduced into the starting XI and the trio of Anthony Martial, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe starting together. Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, recalled from the bench, set up Mbappe for the first on 40 minutes. He was again on hand to make it 2-0 shortly after half time, curling in a wonderful free kick.
Colombia registered their first ever win over France as Didier Deschamps’ side squandered a two goal lead to lose in a five goal thriller. A beautiful passing move resulting in a goal for Olivier Giroud, and another for Liverpool and United target Thomas Lemar had put Les Bleus 2-0 ahead, but they were stunned by a fantastic fightback from Los Cafetaros, who drew level thanks to goals from Muriel and Falcao and then won it at the end through Quintero’s penalty after a foul from Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti
Colombia’s win over France was another example of South American teams beating European opposition in their respective friendlies, with Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Peru also winning in this round.
France XI: Lloris; Sidibe, Varane, Umtiti, Digne Mbappe, Kante, Matuidi, Lemar; Griezmann, Giroud Continue reading
France’s solitary representative left in European competition, Olympique Marseille, will face German outfit Leipzig in the quarterfinals of the Europa League. The eight teams left in the EL are all from different nations. RBL beat Zenit 3-2 on aggregate while Marseille won the “Bielsa derby” against Athletic Club 5-2 over two legs.
Russian outfit CSKA Moscow, who knocked Olympique Lyonnais out in the Round of 16 on the away goals rule, have been drawn against Arsenal.
Atletico v Sporting and Lazio v Salzburg are the other two QF match ups.
The ties will be held on 5 April and 12th April with the first leg to be played in Germany and the return one a week later at the Velodrome
Here are two brand new kits for France’s World Cup 2018 campaign, unveiled by Nike today, just two months before the beginning of the big quadrennial extravaganza- a navy home strip and a white away kit that incorporates the colours of the French national flag.
France reached the finals of Euro 2016 on home soil before losing to Portugal, and will be hoping to go one step further and emulate the class of 98 by lifting the trophy this summer in Russia Continue reading
Marseille were unable to upset Paris Saint-Germain in the Classique at Parc des Princes, with individual errors not helping L’OM’s cause at all. PSG won 3-0 but it came at a cost, with Neymar injured and stretchered off in the second half. The game was done and dusted by then, so did Unai Emery miss a trick by not getting his most valuable player off the pitch? Especially with the second leg against Real Madrid just a week away?
Injury reports have confirmed that Neymar will miss the second leg against Real, which will bring down PSG’s chances of making it through to the last eight even more.
Here are the player ratings from the game- Lo Celso got a 5, but pretty much everyone else in the PSG starting XI got 6 or 7. Marseille’s worst player on the pitch was Rolando, who got just 2 while their best was young Anguissa, who was given a 6. Continue reading
Marseille and Lyon were the only two French teams left in the Round of 16 of the Europa League following the elimination of OGC Nice at the hands of Lokomotiv Moscow. The draw was made today, and OM will face Bilbao in the “Bielsa Derby”, while Lyon, the only team to make it to the Round of 16 in the 2016/17 as well the 2017/18 seasons, have been drawn against CSKA Moscow who are one of three Russian clubs left in the competition.
The other two Russian clubs have been given tough draws, with Lokomotiv Moscow against Atleti and Zenit St Petersburg taking on Napoli’s conquerors RB Leipzig. Continue reading
Caen vs Rennes over the weekend was a special game in the French top flight, with the fixture at Stade Michel d’Ornano being refereed by Switzerland’s Sandro Scharer and his assistants Bekim Zogaj and Stephane de Almeida. Former West Ham player Diafra Sakho netted twice for Rennes, but Caen took a point thanks to Damian da Silva’s late equaliser.
However results elsewhere saw Caen drop from 11th to 12th, while Rennes rose a spot up to 7th. Caen also missed two penalties- one from Rony Rodelin (25) and the second from Stef Peeters (81) Continue reading
Paris Saint-Germain were beaten 3-1 at the Bernabeu by Real Madrid and the visitors’ Spanish coach, Unai Emery, came copped a fair bit of criticism for his tactics. Emery opted to start with rising star Giovani Lo Celso in midfield against Los Blancos, and the Argentine had one of his poorest games in a Paris jersey. Emery also chose to bench captain Thiago Silva and go with young Kimpembe to partner Marquinhos in the heart of defence.
Emery’s tactics of adding an extra defender towards the end in Thomas Meunier backfired as Zidane sent on attacking substitutes and turned the game on its head in the last ten minutes, with two crucial goals giving Real the advantage in this two legged clash Continue reading
The Britanny derby between Rennes and Guingamp ended in thrilling fashion as EAG clinched victory in second half injury time thanks to this Yeni Ngbakoto. Fantastic counter attack and fantastic finish to round off the move Continue reading
Italian Serie A outfit Benevento have moved to sign defender Bacary Sagna on a free transfer. Sagna, 34, was without a club after leaving Man City last summer and has penned a short term deal till the end of the 2017/18 season with the Campania based outfit. The contract includes the option for a year’s extension, should both parties so desire.
Benevento were promoted to Serie A at the end of the 2016/17 season but look destined for an immediate return to the second tier- they’ve only got seven points from 22 games so far. One of those points was secured thanks to a stunning last minute equaliser by their goalkeeper against AC Milan and the other six were picked up at home against Chievo and Sampdoria.
Sagna, capped 65 times by France, will be available to Roberto De Zerbi from next week, meaning that the former Arsenal right back’s league debut for his new club could come at the Olimpico against Roma, rather than this weekend’s fixture at home against Napoli Continue reading