Game analysis : Dubbed as the clash of two illustrious footballing nations, the match itself failed to live to the expectations. An overtly defensive mindset from England and not enough initiatives from the French team. Is it a lack of self belief from the French or is it that the ghosts of Knysna are still haunting them ? In the end, points shared, which I think would be well received by England, who came into the game as the underdogs. The French still have some work left to do, mainly on set-pieces and also in the final touch.
Verdict :- France : Started timidly but slowly took control of the game. They enjoyed most of the possession during the first fifteen minutes, but took a blow when England scored the first goal, when the whole defence froze to allow Lescott to fire home. The French team once again showed its vulnerability when defending set-pieces, a problem which has lasted for way too long. Reacted well though to equalise through Samir Nasri, who was in my opinion, the best French player on the pitch. During the second half, they tried to press forward, but without much success, apart from a couple of shots each, from Karim Benzema and Yohan Cabaye. Laurent Blanc should have introduced an attacking player, like Hatem Ben Arfa or Jeremy Menez earlier on, which could have made the difference against an English backline that was not at its best. Alou Diarra was also up to the task, despite being guilty on the England goal, by breaking a lot of England’s counter attacks. Franck Ribery also showed flashes of brilliance, but in the end, France have themselves to blame. On the whole, they could do much better given their potential.
– England : Diminished by a lot of injuries, the England team opted to park the bus for most part of the game. Scored the first goal against the run of play, through Joleon Lescott, but for the remaining part of the game, lacked any cutting edge. Joe Hart did well, apart from an early scare when he let the ball slip through his hands from a French corner kick – which fortunately was without any major consequence. Made some nice saves afterwards to deny Karim Benzema. Up front, the absence of Wayne Rooney was cruelly missed. Danny Wellbeck could not bring any major threat in a pivotal role, and the same goes for Ashley Young, who albeit an intelligent through ball to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, was outplayed for the rest of the game. Oxlade-Chamberlain himself was not given enough occasions to show his brilliance. I truly believe that a player like Adam Johnson should have been in the squad, for he brings the required skills set, but we are not going to mourn over selection’s issues. In the end, a good point grabbed by England, who have at least avoided defeat, but they definitely need to improve, as the two upcoming games against Ukraine and Sweden will not be easy ones.