The Euro's Dark Rooster: Why Les Bleus May Have Something to Crow About - Page 2
That is all, of course, without mentioning veteran Patrice Evra, who rejoined the team in March: his role as captain in the 2010 Domench Mutiny cost him over a year of national team play, but the versatile defender's Premier League form has been solid.
This team's chief weakness is at holding midfielder, and the loss of Yann M'vila to injury for at least the early stages of the Euro doesn't help. Outside of Alou Diarra there is an alarming lack of pure holding midfielders on Blanc's roster; this means that the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Florent Malouda, Mathieu Valbuena and newly-promoted Yohan Cabaye will be forced to play outside of their comfort zones.
Everybody knows that a long list of well-known players does not a great national team make. France, a country with an impressive system for identifying and supporting young athletes, always has a lot of talent...yet most oddsmakers have them around 12-1 to win, barely ahead of an unproven English squad (13-1) and Italy (15-1). On the other side we have 3/4-1 for Spain, 4/5-1 for Germany and a surprising 8-1 for Holland (I wish I could somehow bet against that).
If Les Bleus can make the mental break from their recent history of drama and failure, all the pieces are in place for a deep, odds-busting Euro run.
If not, maybe someone will score a goal with one hand while simultaneously headbutting an Italian, writing a mutinous letter to the coach and ordering an expensive hooker with the other. As bad as it's been, no one can say the French national team hasn't been exciting.