France National Team: The Future Looks Bright

France National Football TeamFrance have grown a notorious reputation over the last ten years as useless and inefficient. From the defeat against Senegal at the opening of the World Cup 2002, they have been extremely poor in international competition. Even reaching the World Cup Final in 2006 wasn’t celebrated as a huge success.

But now, France look to have a bright future, particularly in their youth squads. A wide range of quality technical players have been birthed and the future seems bright for the national sides. The Under-21 squad didn’t qualify for the European Championships and they are marred by some players being banned, but there is still quality in the squad.

Alexandre Lacazette has made the desired impact at Lyon, adding mobility to their attack as well as some goals. M’Baye Niang is also an exciting prospect for Milan. Massmiliano Allegri (AC Milan manager) spoke of his ability:

“He is a versatile striker who can play both as a center forward and as a second striker. He still needs to improve, but he’s developing well.’’

Antoine Greizmann is a player that France could utilize to great effect. An excellent technical player, he is the main reason Real Sociedad have had great success this season. With the ability to play anywhere across the forward line, he is extremely versatile and fits the band to the sort of player that was in France squad in 1998.

In the defense, France have a very capable center-back for the future; Raphael Varane has shown at the tender age of 19 he can read the game as well as any other. Filled with great athleticism, he has the ability to be the best defensive player in the world. He has been rightly suggested by Zidane to surpass Laurent Blanc in his ability.

Geoffrey KondogbiaMeanwhile, the France Under-20 squad harbors some great talent and they go into the Under 20 World Cup with a serious chance of victory. Geoffrey Kondogbia has been the main talking point in the squad, a player who looks a veteran on the field. The plaudits he has earned while playing for Sevilla and the French youth squads has been rightly deserved. Top clubs such as Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Juventus have been tracking the youngster, who told Spanish Paper Estadio Deportivo that he is attracted to Premier League football.

A player that could partner Kondogbia in the center of the park for France is Juventus youngster, Paul Pogba. After never fitting in at Manchester United, Juventus have brought out the best in his ability. A highly competent midfielder, he has also shown he has an eye for goal, with a total of five league goals thus far. The pairing of Kondogbia and Pogba looked very comfortable in the Under-19 Championships; likely the best pairing in the tournament. It boded well for the future of the French National Team.

Another player that could be a great addition to the French back line is Samuel Umtiti; a very able center back, he has shown his versatility as full back against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, in which he scored a blockbuster strike. He was a member of the 2012 Under-19 Championships squad, and for the full tournament he showed himself as the finest central defender in the competition.

He and Varane could be an excellent pairing, it does seem logical for France Under 20 coach Pierre Mankowski to select the pair for the upcoming World Cup.

The Under-20 World Cup this summer will provide a stern test for the youngsters; they face a difficult group against Spain, USA, and a side from Africa. Spain will be a very difficult test; the Under 19 side was very unlucky not to overhaul them in an enthralling encounter at the Under-19 Championships. It could be time for their first slice of revenge.

France Under-20 National Football TeamUSA provides the unknown to some degree; football in America is very much on the rise and they have obviously developed some technique in their game with ever improving coaching techniques. The tournament is pivotal in French football, with one of the strongest sides in the tournament it will be a unique learning curve for the squad.

The France national team currently have reason to be optimistic, with a real opportunity to knock Spain back to reality in their qualifying group. An impressive 1-1 draw in Spain has been the pinnacle of Didier Deschamps reign so far. Some may have written off France to even reach Brazil in 2014, and even if they reach there, they will still be largely dismissed.

Some of Under-21 contingent could find themselves on the plane to Brazil; Rapahel Varane may be spoken as one of the World’s best central defenders and Geoffrey Kondogbia could make a huge leap towards the national side if he makes a big money move. An average of 25.2 in the recent 3-1 victory over Georgia this squad is far from maxing out its potential.

They could be a side to look out for in their own European Championship in 2016 and the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

Written by @Footy_Views

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Goal Line Technology to be Implemented in 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Goal-Line TechnologyFIFA has announced this week that the increasing demand for goal-line technology has finally been approved for the 2014 World Cup, and even sooner for the 2013 Confederations Cup, both of which are set to take place in Brazil.

Many recent international tournaments had incidents preventing teams from progressing further. Such incidents included Euro 2012, when joint hosts Ukraine were not awarded a goal against England that clearly crossed the goal-line, and in World Cup 2010, when England’s Frank Lampard clearly scored a goal against Germany that was not counted by the referee.

And with the increased coverage on television of the world’s top leagues, controversial incidents happen on almost a weekly basis!

It has been suggested for a long time now that football should follow the likes of tennis and cricket with technology used to give the correct and fair decision, which has been proven to work over a number of recent years.

So the progression of technology in game has moved closer, and finally, FIFA launched a report this week with the standards needing to be met for companies wishing to be considered for goal-line technology. The companies hoping to be involved in the forthcoming tournaments in Brazil will be asked to come to the stadiums that will host the Confederations Cup next month, and a final decision by FIFA will be made in April. The technology will have to be tested by the officials before every game.

Most recently, goal-line technology, or GLT as FIFA seem to be shortening it, was tried and tested at the Club World Cup in Japan and was successful enough for the decision to implement the technology for the forthcoming events. Many rumors are now circling some of the top football leagues, such as the Premier League, deciding to implement such technologies in the 2013/2014 season. As of now, only time can tell.

Goal-Line TechnologyCurrently there are 2 FIFA approved systems for goal-line technology; the first and more familiar name across sport is Hawk Eye. Hawk Eye, based in Basingstoke, UK, started their developments and research in early 1999 and was a same basis of technology used for brain surgery and missile tracking. By spring of 2001, channel 4 in the UK used hawk eye for their coverage of the ashes, and by February 2002, it was used for BBC’s Davis Cup coverage and developments. The success meant that before long, Hawk Eye technology would be used in all major Cricket and Tennis tournaments.

By January 2007, the Premier League agreed a contract with Hawk Eye to develop a system to potentially be used within the league in the future. Sony acquired Hawk Eye as a flag ship brand, which helped the company develop further and pass the first phase of FIFA approval in January 2012, as well as the system being used across multiple sports and winning many prestigious awards.

So how does it work?

Well, Hawk Eye uses cameras to track the path of a ball in any sport, that are then turned by a computer into 3D images that will measure the speed and distance with pinpoint accuracy. For the purposes of football, this would show exactly where the ball is at the times the cameras captured the image, to see if the whole of the ball has crossed the line in order to prevent incorrect goal-line decisions.

The other system approved by FIFA is GoalRef. GoalRef is part of the German company Fraunhofer IIS, and uses a different approach to determine if a ball has crossed a line. It was originally looked in to being used for the sport of handball.

The technology works using magnetic fields around the goal area with a chip inside a football, as well as 10 antennas installed in the posts and cross bar. Software is used to detect a change in the in the magnetic fields, and when the chip in the ball crosses the line, a signal is generated to the referee, indicating the ball has crossed the line.

GoalRef is said to have a stronger chance of winning the bid to be the technology used in the future because it claims to take less than a second to reach the correct decision. As well as GoalRef, this company uses technologies called RedFir and BlackFir that can track and locate  people and objects in real time.

The exact and clear decision regarding which technology will be used has yet to come by FIFA, but it will certainly come soon.

This decision to use such technologies has been requested by football fans for a while now, and could be the start of other technologies used to help officials throughout the duration of the game.

Written by @chalkonyaboots

7 Reasons Why Germany Will Win the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Part 2

In my previous post, I wrote about the 3 of 7 reasons why Germany will win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Here are the final 4 reasons why I feel the European side will be crowned champions at next year’s FIFA World Cup.

Germany National Football TeamStrong Performance at Preliminaries

With the World Cup Preliminaries up and running, Die Mannschaft have already proven to the world that they are a legitimate threat to the title in 2014.

With 4 games down and 6 to go, Germany lead UEFA’s Group C with 10 points, 3 ahead of second placed Sweden and 4 points clear of Ireland. They have scored 15 goals thus far and conceded 6, all adding up to a final record of 3 wins and 1 draw.

Germany’s 3 wins came fairly easily to them. The squad defeated the Faroe Islands with the score of 3-0 on 7 September, and recorded another victory against Austria at Vienna with the score for 2-1. Later in the year, on 12 October, Germany destroyed Ireland, who were playing on their home turf, with the score of 6-1.

Their last preliminary of 2012 was a slight upset for Germany, though. The Germans looked to have secured and easy victory against Sweden in Berlin, up 4-0 at the hour mark. Unfortunately for them, Sweden managed to make it 4-3 by the 76th minute, followed by an equalizer from Rasmus Elm late into stoppage time.

Despite their draw against Sweden, Germany has been doing a great job at these preliminaries. With a goal difference of +9 in just 4 games, the squad has shown everyone that they mean business.

Goalkeepers and Defense

Germany currently have 2 great options to put in the goal as they head closer to the World Cup in Brazil.

The first of these options is none other than 25 year old Manuel Neuer. Neuer is an exceptional diver and has fast reflexes. These traits helped Schalke 04 reach the semifinals of the Champions League in 2011 and (after his summer signing to the German Giants) Bayern reach the finals in 2012. In the 2010 World Cup, Neuer made 22 saves for Germany, pushing them all the way to win the 3rd place trophy.

Rene Adler, who is 6’3″ tall and 26 years old, is Germany’s second option as goalkeeper. He has been Bayer Leverkusen’s keeper for over 8 years, and was supposed to by the team’s first choice striker before a rib injury kept him off the pitch in the 2010 World Cup.

Germany also has a very strong back line, consisting of players like Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, Mat Hummels, and Per Mertesacker. Aside from Lahm, Germany’s captain, all these defenders are over 6 feet tall, making it very hard for players to make crosses and creating a huge wall to block the opposition.

Mario Gomez Celebrates GoalInnovative Tactics

Joachim Low has coached Die Mannschaft since Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision not to renew his contract after their semifinal loss to Italy in the 2006 World Cup.

Low has been a great coach, bringing in new tactics and introducing new styles to advance their performance on the pitch. As a result, the squad has been doing much better under Low’s leadership and training.

Such tactics destroyed teams like Argentina and England in the 2010 World Cup. Their attacking style has improved drastically, making them harder to stop and faster, while their defense has been doing a much better job keeping the ball out of the net.

Low will likely bring even more of these new styles of play to the squad as they head for Brazil in 2014, and with every training session, the European side continues to get stronger and stronger.

Winning-Mentality and Perseverance

Without a doubt, the Germans do great in almost every game they play, racking up as many goals as possible. When they enter the field, the don’t just come to play a nice, friendly match: they come to win.

All players on the squad are extremely proud of their country, and all fans of Germany have pride in their players, a mix bound to create Champions.

As I’ve mentioned before, Germany is known for their innovative tactics and consistency at penalties. In addition to that, the squad will never give up on anything they go at, no matter how far and how hard it is to reach that goal. Even 2 goals down with 1 minute to go, they will do whatever is humanly possible to score at least a single goal before the final whistle.

In conclusion, Germany’s squad has developed significantly over the past few years, and skill as well as their determination will see them win the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

7 Reasons Why Germany Will Win the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Part 1

Germany National Football TeamThe Germany National Football Team are always a huge threat when it comes to any title they pursue. The squad have been crowned European Champions 3 times and recorded 3 World Cup titles in 6 final appearances. In addition to that, a large number of football legends throughout history have called Germany their home, from Gerd Muller to Franz Beckenbauer.

As a result, Die Mannschaft have become the team to beat at these international competitions. Despite upsets at the Euro Cup and World Cup (particularly losses to Spain), Germany have almost always ended up near the top. Here are 7 reasons why Germany have exactly what it takes to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil:

Champions League

The German Bundesliga is allowed to enter 3 clubs to compete in the UEFA Champions League. This season, the 3 German teams participating in the competition are Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and Schalke 04, all of whom finished in the top 3 of last season’s edition of the Bundesliga. To no one’s surprise though, all 3 teams ended up topping their respective groups in this season’s Champions League.

Without recording a single loss, Schalke finished with 12 points in Group B, 2 points ahead of Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich recorded 4 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss in Group F, topping the table with 13 points. Valencia, who had also racked up 13 points, finished not far behind in 2nd place.

And probably the most shocking result of all, Borussia Dortmund topped Group D, also known as the “Group of Death,” which was made up entirely of teams who had topped their respective leagues in the previous season. They ended the group stage without recording a single loss, and with 14 points, they ended 3 points ahead of Spanish Giants Real Madrid.

As you can see, German clubs have recorded huge successes at the international level already. If you take only the best from these 3 teams (and Germans from other clubs) and put them all in black and white jerseys, won’t they be just as strong in the World Cup?

2014 FIFA World CupTalented Young Stars

Germany also boasts many young players, particularly under the age of 25, who are not yet at their prime and are constantly getting better.

Two of these players, Sami Khedira (25) and Mesut Ozil (24), play for La Liga side Real Madrid. At Madrid, the duo were crowned La Liga Champions in the 2011-2012 season. They have also done an exceptional job playing for the national team in the 2010 World Cup, and looking at how much they have progressed since then, they will most likely bring even more to the team in 2014.

23 year old Thomas Muller gained international praise in the 2010 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot Award for being the top scorer in the competition with 5 goals and 3 assists.

Other German youngsters include Mario Gotze (20), Marco Reus (23), and Toni Kroos (23), all of whom are vital goalscorers in their respective Bundesliga sides this season.

Consistency

Despite doubts that they would not perform well in their last 3 World Cups, Germany has been extremely successful at these tournaments, even if they didn’t win the grand prize.

In 2002, Germany struggled to qualify for the World Cup. They recorded an embarrassing 5-1 loss to England, and the worst part was that it all happened on their home turf. But after qualifying, Germany went all the way to 2nd place, losing only to champions Brazil.

In 2006, 4 in 5 Germans believed the squad didn’t have what it took to get in the top 4 of the World Cup due to bad performances at friendlies. Once again, they were all proved wrong, as Die Mannschaft finished in 3rd after losing to Italy in extra time.

Similar doubts arose in 2010, but Germany once again did the extraordinary. Even Michael Ballack, who did not compete due to an injury, said Germany lacked the strength to be a contender. They ended up winning the 3rd place trophy after losing to eventual champions Spain.

Also, Germany is probably the most consistent teams ever when it comes penalty kicks. The squad hasn’t lost a shootout since 1976, and are 4-0 in all shootouts in the World Cup, an impressive feat unique to the European side.

Click here to read the final 4 reasons why Germany will win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.