Tag Archives: France Nat’l Team

2011 FIS Alpine Skiing World Championship: The Team Event

Teams Austria, France, Sweden on the podium/ UniversalSports.com/Kerstin Joensson/ Associated Press

Well, last year’s FIS Audi World Cup Final was sad because Universal Sports didn’t air or stream the GS team event which sounds awesomely entertaining with it’s side-by-side bracketed heat format. Yesterday morning the team event was presented for the third time at the FIS Alpine World Championships (also in Garmisch-Partenkirchenm GER), and due to cable misfortunes that involve my provider not caring about Olympic sports/carrying Universal Sports… I missed it again.

I was this close to ordering the online package, but it seemed like a waste since the World Champ event is more than half over. Watching sports in retrospect is boring.

Team USA included Bode Miller (who you may recall had an attitude reboot in Vancouver) Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso (who won silver in the Super G Championship right between Elisabeth Goergl and Maria Riesch) and Sarah Schleper (who roars when she leaves the gate).

Rough city: Bode Miller was the only American to win his run against Italy, leaving Team USA with a 3-1 record.

The way it works is that each team has four runs (two male and two female team members participate). Each races in a head-to-head parallel heats against the country that they’re lined up with in the bracket (in this case, USA-ITA). Every win is worth one point, the total deciding advancement, clearly.

Bode Miller vs. Christian Deville of Italy/ UniversalSports.com/ Kerstin Joensson/ Associated Press

At any rate, Team USA did not move forward.

In other news France (my adopted country of enthusiasm) beat out Austria for the gold (they tied in points, but was France better in times), followed by Sweden (who beat Italy 4-0).

Team France/ UniversalSports.com/ Matthias Schrader/ Associated Press

Now, as you may know, sometimes I like to evaluate obscure winter sports by the names of the athletes involved. Alpine Skiers Elisabeth Goergl, Aksel Lund Svindal, and Didier Cuche made my Olympic list. This French team victory brings to my attention a few more amazing athlete names and might just provide insight into their edge over the Austrians (who, let’s face it, are skiing beasts): Cyprien Richard, Anemone Marmottan (named after the least pronounceable flower/ sea creature?)—those are winning names.

Just putting it out there.

According to a recap from UniversalSports.com, this is how some of the Americans feel about the event which some officials want to introduce at the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

Julia Mancuso, who competed for the U.S. team, said she found the format fun but isn’t all that eager to have it at the Olympics.

“I am kind of in the middle. It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s good to be with the guys. And I mean, it’s kind of those events where anything can happen. It’s cool. We don’t do it a lot, so it’s kind of different. It’s almost like an exhibition. Of course, winning a team event is nothing compared to winning an individual event.”

Another of the Americans, Ted Ligety, saw it similarly.

“It’s a cool event,” he said. “It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to race. Our scheduling in ski racing is so tough that doing this in the middle of a championships is always hard.

“If we had it on the last day, it would make more sense,” Ligety said. “It would be interesting to see it at the Olympics but, then again, it’s all about the timing. This is far less important than an individual medal.”

I still want to watch it.

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Au Revoir aux Bleus: France 1-2 South Africa

Bakari Sagna of France tackles Siphiwe Tshabalala of S. Africa (FIFA.com/Getty/Clive Rose)

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The cosmos and the Bafana Bafana delivered a victory for South Africa.

I didn’t get to watch the game. This is not because I have a job, but because I have an internship and even though they’re not paying, it is still sort of frowned upon if you show up and proceed to do nothing but watch sports and Google yourself.

I did listen for a while on ESPN radio online (dear lifesaver), but then I had a meeting.

Happily, South Africa did not let me down in my absence (although it was unfortunately not enough to advance them to the Round of 16).

Yes, yes, you may have read that I was supporting France a while ago, but catch yourself up folks: I had to jump ship because the French team went to hell in a hand basket. And no, I did not defect due to poor performance. I broke up with the team because of appalling behavior.

FIFA.com/Getty/Clive Mason

Anyways, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that had I been able to watch the game I probably would have cried. Happy for the win, sad for the elimination despite the last group round victory. Talk about rough city for the host nation.

But at least they got a win, right? And at least they didn’t lose to the shambles that was the French team after all that drama. That would have been terribly tragic. And really, there are things worse than a draw, a loss and a win.

Things like being Les Bleus, for example.

On the menu for tomorrow? Missing the USA-Algeria game whilst at my last day of interning (but that’s a sad story for another day).

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Waterloo References Never Get Old: The French Embarrassment

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“France should just go home, OK? Fly in the Irish…”

So says Alexi Lalas in the ESPN wrap-up session after today’s World Cup games.

Oh haven’t you heard? Not only has  France performed abysmally in their first two group games, but yesterday a bona fide mutiny broke out at a training session, as alluded to in my previous post.

Patrice Evra got into it with the fitness coach Robert Duverne during a very public session on the French training ground. Generally disliked head coach Raymond Domenech intervened, yadda yadda… we end with Duverne storming off the field and chucking his credentials into the distance.

The last bit of that widely circulated footage is Alexi Lalas’ most favorite. He is also wondering if anyone has found the discarded loot, because he bets it would be worth a lot.

The entire team then managed to agree on the first matter on which they have had such success: They banded together and refused to practice, raising concerns about forfeiting their last group match against Bafana Bafana.

The crux of their beef? The sending home of forward Nicolas Anelka, who purportedly insulted Domenech during their last half time.

Of course, all of France has been insulting Domenech for a while now, but that’s besides the point. There is mutiny here.

So after the team stormed off, they sent poor Domenech back out to read their statement.

It’s just too ridiculous. The whole thing is just absurd. You have to almost feel bad for him.

“All the players in the French squad without exception wish to affirm their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation to exclude Nicolas Anelka. The French Football Federation did not at any time try to protect the group. It took a decision without even consulting the players as a whole, uniquely based on facts reported by the press. As a consequence and to show our opposition to the decision taken by officials of the federation, all the players has decided not to take part in today’s training session.”

Are you serious? Etes-vous serieux?

While all this was going down, the Team Director and Soccer Federation Managing Director for France, Jean-Louis Valentin also took leave of the field, announcing his resignation.

“They don’t want to train, it’s a scandal,” said Valentin, tears of anger in his voice. “It’s a scandal for the French people, for the youngsters who came here to watch them train. I’m resigning, I’m leaving the federation. I have nothing more to do here. I’m going back to Paris.” (source: ABC.com)

Talk about embarrassing.

So you start out with a team that people are feeling isn’t going to live up to past glory (quite a bit past, really). You have an unpopular coach. You are still the national team. France loves you. You’re there to do the whole French glory thing, uphold the Patrie. Then you draw with Uruguay. Then you go ahead and lose to Mexico while insulting your coach. To remedy this, you figure, “Oui, I will cause a massive scene in front of fans and the press, jeopardize any remaining iota of respect we might possess and funnel national frustration with our performance into hate for our actual selves.”

The French press is not reacting kindly. Waterloo references are being made (and you know, that’s not their favorite thing to bring up in France), the team’s behavior is being compared to steaming pile of shit, and the Parisien (on the gentler side of things) bemoans the fact that not only is France stuck with the worst team at the cup, but “to also have the most stupid is intolerable.”

Stupid.

Even “villain” Zinedine Zidane condemned this former team: “There’s two things that will be remembered from this World Cup—the winner and the fact that the French team refused to attend the training session ahead of their match with South Africa.”

Furthermore, French corporate sponsorship is being pulled. The likes of Credit Agricole and Quick want nothing to do with the scandal.

Recall my sadness when Les Bleus lost to Mexico. I was upset, feeling both tragic and frustrated. And while it pains me to turn my back, I now just really, really, really want to see South Africa finalize the decimation of the French team—not only because it would be great to see the host nation win one, but let’s face it: those French cocks need to be taught a lesson about…

…Well there are so many things. Let’s go with “functioning,” to put it broadly.

There, I said it.

And I am so thankful not to be a French child football fan right now. I might be destroyed. Can you imagine heading to the training session to get some pictures, maybe an autograph and seeing that unfold?

I’m thinking of sending a telegram:

France National Team: [stop]

I regret to inform you that we are breaking up. [stop] At least my true loves the Azzurri aren’t a hot mess. [stop] Be better at life next time. [stop]

Regretfully yours,
Johanna [stop]

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Descent into Mayhem: Brazil vs. Ivory Coast

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That’s really all I have to say about the closing minutes of the Brazil – Ivory Coast Game.

Michel Bastos argues with Siake Tiene (FIFA.com/Getty Images/Martin Rose)

It was absurd.

The commentators regretfully informed the world that such behavior is the downfall of their sport. Tsk tsk.

Add to that the scandalous behavior of the French team at practice, and it was quite the drama day.

And events/causes of scandal aside, don’t you think that as a supposedly elite side who has performed miserably, nigh on embarrassingly, that instead of boycotting practice maybe you ought to—oh I don’t know—do some teamwork drills or something? I mean—obviously—aside from agreeing as a team to march off the field and refuse to return whilst under the lens of the media.

I mean, I hate to say this, but (and especially since they are playing South Africa next) I might have to pull my support from Les Bleus (anyways, I have another blue—technically azure—team that I back above all anyways, and then of course there is Team USA… lots of blue here).

Anyways.

Soon I will have to relive my aneurysm regarding the Azzurri. Returning to my dark place to write that post will be interesting.

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Les Bleus… Well… OK, So They Blew

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The Loneliest Man in the World: Raymond Domenech (FIFA.com/Getty)

This can’t have done much to improve the general French attitude towards their national coach.

Choice bits from Steve McManaman (and it really says something about the behavior of the French team that I am choosing to quote McManaman, seeing as he has the worst hair, the worst suits and some pretty bad ties as well. He is also occasionally unintelligible, but that’s a story for another day):

“Awful, abysmal, terrible… I could go on… They look unorganized, they play whatever they want, they look selfish. Uck.”

“There was no passion, no power, no nothing.”

“They should have scored in the first half.”

McManaman goes on to say that they might have, if players hadn’t been being “a little bit selfish,” and could have been bothered to, oh I don’t know, maybe pass to each other?

FIFA.com / Getty

And I had such hope as I heard the familiar strains of La Marseillaise before the game. You know, all that stuff about snuffing our enemies, using the blood of the enemy to water the fields of France, general fury about being masters of their own destinies, avenging themselves, being heroes, et cetera, et cetera.

Am I the only one who knows the lyrics? For God’s sake.

Je suis en grande détresse, grâce aux Bleus.

As a disclaimer to the general tone of this post: I love the French, I love all things French, I have lived in France, and I have studied France and French due to my love of said place and people, for which you can thank my mother.

FIFA.com/Getty/Streeter Lecka

It was repulsive. It made multi-tasking nearly impossible. I had been stalwart in my optimism. I had been confident that the dull and disjointed game against Uruguay was no reason for writing off.

I mean, don’t they even want to have a go at winning the right to wear another little star on their jerseys?

I shall have to resort to discussing the French uniforms and then using them to mock the team. There’s no way around it.

First of all, aside from the astounding photographic quality available to us in this delightful modern era, and aside from the amazing athleticism in that amazing leap by Evra… let us take note of a special element of the French uniform: those delightful gloves. A good number of Team France chooses to sport dainty blue gloves throughout the game.

Dandies.

Let’s just go with the most historically popular slur against the French and just call them fancy dandies, running about being generally useless.

The sad, cold French team. (FIFA.com/Getty)

I mean, I know it was cold out and all, but the other teams did not appear to be wearing gloves. And it’s one thing to bundle up on the bench, it’s one thing to wear extra layers but I take issue with those royal blue gloves.

Hmm… what to decry next?

FIFA.com/Getty/Mike Hewitt

How about how tightly much of the French team choose to wear their jerseys? Perhaps the tightness was cutting off the circulation to their brains, thus rendering them incapable of communicating and functioning as a team?

Dear Sagna, that is a very tight shirt. I think the lack of circulation also caused him to select his current hair-do. Love the blond tips to your cornrows…

I am sorry, but I am very upset!

Although to be fair, probably not as upset as Sagna and Diaby in that photo. At least they know they should be ashamed; those expressions are just rank with despondence mixed slowly boiling rage.

Not like the sheer infectious joy of the Mexican side. I was clearly having myself a fit during the game, but upon reviewing the images a few hours later, I must admit… I feel a little happy for them.

Dos Santos and Blanco After His Penalty Shot putting the tally at 0:2 (FIFA.com/Getty/David Cannon)

How can you not? Just look at that face. Also, the Mexican side actually functions as team, so they actually deserved to win.

Unlike Les Bleus.

C’est dommage.

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France

Pull it together.

Really.

I know you hate your coach, but really. Really.

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The World Cup is Finally Here!

That’s all really.

The opener between South Africa and Mexico is 46:19 in as I type and we’re off to the halftime report. Neither team has scored. This is apparently the first time that has happened in an opener since 1994.

The vuvuzelas are already annoying and if I was sitting behind someone wearing a sombrero, I would be a little pissed.

Just saying.

And that Nike ad has not yet aired in its entirety, but I am hopeful.

Oh and the gear people are sporting is amazing. As is all the footage of safari animals.

World Cup!

And just to officially lay it out there: I am supporting Italy. They are my people and I will be there later this summer. I also own a Forza Fiorentina scarf.

I also like France (on principle) and Uruguay (my original pick), who are playing this afternoon whilst I am unable to be watching—lame—although given my indecision, that might be best. At some point, I suppose I can get behind the US. Like, possibly at the England-USA game tomorrow.

Alexi Lalas has declared Greece as his sleeper, the Netherlands and Spain as finalists with the Dutch taking home the Cup.

World Cup!

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