The optimism of France's national side took a blow as Didier Deschamps team fell victim to a 3-0 defeat in Port Alegre on Sunday night against a Brazilian side that demonstrated its superior class.
It sounds like a storyline all too familiar to French fans and although dismissal of the sides chances at next summers World Cup are premature, the squad faces an uphill battle if it looks to compete with the possession masterminded Spain, the supremely talented Germany, a youthful multi-talented unrefined Brazil alongside a tremendous Italian squad spoiled with talent.
One of the gaping flaws in the team is the void of a dependant finisher who is worthy of the ‘world-class’ title. Karim Benzema went through a difficult season at Real Madrid and his last international goal was a brace against Estonia on the 5th June 2012 .
Olivier Giroud and Bafetimbi Gomis are capable finishers but not in the sense of a true number nine and this continuing thorn in the side looks to be troublesome.
France fortunately do have depth in the midfield position from the experience of Mathieu Valbuena to forward thinking set piece artist Clement Grenier. With this area of the team being sufficiently filled, it puts greater emphasis on the desire to discover the required striker or having Benzema rediscover his form.
The talent included in their current under 21 side can be something with which the fans can look upon with enthusiasm and excitement.
Highly rated defensive pieces in Real Madrid's Raphael Varane and Porto's Eliaquim Mangala, the quick-tempered Yann M'Vila, the adventurous and expressive forwards Remy Cabella, Antoine Griezmann and M'Baye Niang.
The future is undoubtedly rich in potential but the impact has to be made on the big stage.
Faltering performances have plagued France's participation in recent tournaments and the revolt of the changing room during the 2010 World Cup is an unforgettable embarrassment to an national institution that once dominated the international scene.
Twelve months is too soon for this squad to be considered legitimate favourites but if the pieces are kept intact they will be viewed as dangerous contenders when they host the European Championships in 2016.
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