November 13th 2015 : a date to remember for France and the civilized world. It was the day when peaceful people were killed by a bunch of fanatics, a day to remember and never forget. The Home of the national French Football team, the Stade de France had his own wounds to heal as well, (three bombs exploded nearby, one dead and almost a hundred bystanders wounded.)
The game vs Sweden(World Cup qualifiers), was the perfect setting for the football fans and the players to pay their respects and remember that night of horror, by observing an emotional minute of silence.
But life is going on, so the game was played and won by an average French team while the Swedish one without their charismatic captain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and an old favorite Kim Källstrom, proposed an interesting game perfectly suited for a draw away.
France won 2-1 ( Pogba 57th, Payet 65th and Forsberg 55th for the visitors); Here’s the players ratings.
Hugo Lloris (gk) : 5,5/10
The French captain had not a lot to do apart two good saves, but he was on fault for the Swedish goal. It’s true that the free-kick was brilliantly executed by Emil Forsberg; hitting the ball hard with the inside of his right foot is quite bizarre with the ball swerving in the air; Lloris had taken a step to the opposite side, so he was left motionless and quite unhappy.
The technical term of this unusual set- piece kick is “knuckleball free-kick” It’s a quite popular gesture for the likes of Andrea Pirlo or Christiano Ronaldo, though.
Laurent Konscielny : 6,5/10
Arsenal’s captain bossed the French defense as he usual does; he made some important blocks, too. Call him Mr Reliable.
Djibril Sidibé : 5/10
A difficult first half; made several faults but was better after the pause; some good crosses, one of which resulted in creating the winning goal.
Raphaël Varane : 6/10
Good, solid defending; instrumental in the conception of Pogba’s goal. Helped efficiently his teammates, when Sweden were in the French half.
Patrice Evra : 5/10
The Juventus man was looking as old as his age(35) Didier Deschamps’ “homme de confiance”, wasn’t able to match the speed of his (much younger) teammates. Nevertheless, he was able to help the team, showing that he still got it.
Blaise Mathuidi : 6/10
It was his run who won the free- kick and helped create France’s equalizer. He was again one of Les Bleus key players; focused, responsible and consistent.
Dimitri Payet : MOTM 7/10
The Hammer was without any doubt the best French on the pitch; a constant threat, he scored one and assisted with the equalizer. He’s such a creative player, a joy to watch.
Moussa Sissoko : 5/10
An average game for the Spurs man; some good efforts but also wasteful in possession. The shadow of the player who impressed so much during the Euros.
Paul Pogba : 6,5/10
Scored the equalizer but he could/should score more ; he bossed the middle and played lots of balls but without the required result.
Antoine Griezmann : 6/10
The Atletico Madrid man wasn’t his usual self, meaning “exceptional”. Lots of runs, obliging the Swedish goalie to be on his toes but no goals or assists; unlucky, too(hit the woodpost).
Olivier Giroud : 5/10
Second best in his club, the Gunner has Deschamps on his side and played all the 93 minutes of the game. Unfortunately he wasn’t feed enough from Pogba and Griezmann, so he wasn’t able to attack as he was supposed to do.
R. Olsen : 4/10
A good start , but afterwards he accumulated bad decisions and faults (58th, 61st, 65th) His error on the second goal cost a point to his team. It’s a shame really, cos he was rather good several times(15th, 63rd).
E. Krafth : 5,5/10
The Bologna player brought danger several times in Les Bleus area; he won many duels, but was yellow carted(57th) for a fault against Mathuidi and this fault gave France the equalizer.
A. Granqvist : 5,5/10
The big Swedish( 1,92m) did some great interventions during the first half (28th) but after the break, he was beaten several times by Giroud and Griezmann. Good defensive kicks, he used his height well.
V. Lindelöf : 5/10
The Benfica player had an average game; solid first half, but left too many space for Les Bleus after the break.
L. Augustinsson : 6/10
The young player of FC Copenaguen put Lloris several times in danger(21st, 29th, 52nd) but was enable to help his team’s attacks on the left side.
J. Durmaz : 6,5/10
The Toulouse’s midfielder, was one of the best players of his team; he tried hard to help his teammates to score(21st, 67th) ; good in defense(9th) and in attack(67th). Subbed by Jansson(87th).
A. Ekdal : 4/10
Hambourg’s midfielder, had a very disappointing evening; no impact in the game at anytime, was beaten by Pogba on the goal. Subbed by Hiljemark(66th). A game to forget …
E. Forsberg :6,5/10
RB Leipzig’s midfielder, was constantly moving and created spaces showing vision, technique and speed. The Swedish playmaker showed his ability to find the solution even in small spaces and his well worked free-kick surprised Lloris and brought the first goal od the game.
O. Toivoven : 5/10
Some good passes to his midfielders, a good kick saved by Konscielny(25th); for the rest he hasn’t be able to show any impact in the offensive game.
J. Guidetti : 6/10
Zlatan’s successor, had a good game ; no more, no less. A good first half, some good calls(23rd) but very discreet after the break. Subbed by Kiesse Thelin (73rd).
Categories: Analysis, opinion, World Cup Qualifiers
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