Have France re-found their feet in the International set-up?

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With Euro 2012 just over two weeks away, many will have placed their bets on who they think will lift the Henri Delauney trophy. Most football fans and pundits alike are probably leaning towards defending champions Spain and the team they beat in the 2008 final Germany, however one team I’m sure who will not be everybody’s first pick will be France. However don’t go counting your sweepstake winnings just yet.

Who would have thought France, a team that was in turmoil throughout the 2010 World Cup in South Africa could be were they are now. Mutiny within the camp and Nicholas Anelka being sent home for criticising then boss Raymond Domenech threatened to give a France a bad name within international football and many believed they wouldn’t be back.

So what exactly is it that makes them such strong contenders?. A blend of experience and youth has been adopted under current boss Laurent Blanc along with a new winning mentality, which was emphasised when they triumphed against one of the favourites Germany in a friendly earlier this year.

Players such as Karem Benzema and Johan Cabaye have thrived this season, especially Cabaye at Newcastle who was regarded by many as their best player during their fantastic 2011/2012 season. Less known players such as Yann M’Villa who has been linked with Arsenal, Olivier Giroud of Montpellier and Valencia centre back Adil Rami are all performing at the top level heading into the championships.

The Coach Laurent Blanc has been a scientific yet authoritarian character, his decision to suspend all 23 members of the World Cup squad in 2010 was controversial following their dismal performances and attitude. His reign started with a 2-1 defeat to Norway, however he managed to lead his team to top spot in their qualifying group. Excellent friendly wins against England, Brazil and Germany have surely rubber stamped the teams growing confidence.

Of course France are amongst the teams in England’s group at this years finals, and being the first group game, England will know doubt be in for a difficult task.

Frances last triumph wasn’t that long ago of course at Euro 2000 following their world cup 1998 success, however Les Bleus haven’t managed to conquer on quite a scale for many years. The fact teams such as Germany Holland and Spain are spoken above them shows this, however no one will want to underestimate this team. They have managed to re-create some of the ‘va va voom’ that lacked for so long, the bread of talent is there for all to see, so if they can carry on from those friendly victories then who knows if they can land Europe’s ultimate prize.

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