France World Cup PreviewPosted: Monday May 27, 2002 2:36 PM
Updated: Monday May 27, 2002 7:57 PM
How they line up
More often than not, France use a 4-2-3-1 system. In front of Fabien Barthez stands a highly experienced, conventional back four made up of Lilian Thuram and Bixente Lizarazu at right- and left-back respectively, with Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf in the center.
Desailly picks up the most physically imposing of the opposition strikers, while Leboeuf is more of a coverer and tidier. Both fullbacks, but especially Lizarazu, will push forward where possible.
The ball-winning ability and tactical acumen of Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit make them the ideal defensive midfield duo, but their drive and intelligent passing mean they also contribute much offensively.
David Trezeguet, the archetypal goalpoacher, is at the point of the attack, with a trio of forwards/playmakers on his shoulder. This triumvirate usually comprises Zinedine Zidane through the middle, and Sylvain Wiltord -- who should replace Pires -- and Thierry Henry on the right and left. But these are only nominal positions. In a fluid system, Zidane and Henry benefit from having considerable freedom to roam.
Defensive options are provided by Ulrich Rame in goal; Vincent Candela -- who can play right- or left-back or on the left side of midfield -- right-back Willy Sagnol, Mickael Silvestre (left-back or center-back) and Philippe Christanval in central defense; Claude Makelele and Alain Boghossian serve as the deputies of Vieira and Petit; while Eric Carriere and Youri Djorkaeff could come off the bench to take over on the right or central midfield.
Provided he can shake off the knee and thigh injuries that have plagued him this season, Christophe Dugarry could see playing time in any attacking midfield role or up front. Promising youngster Djibril Cisse may also come into the striking equation, as could Steve Marlet, who is equally dangerous through the middle or wide on the right.
Lemerre could also go to 4-4-2, a formula with two options. In the first, three defensive midfielders (Vieira, Petit and Makelele) shield Zidane; the second has Vieira and Petit behind two playmakers (Zidane plus Carriere, Djorkaeff or Dugarry).