Blanc departure leaves France at crossroads
Published: 08.07.12 / Written by: David Gold
Laurent Blancís departure as France coach was coming, but it is none the less a strange decision on the face of it.
Having taken over a team in complete disarray, Blanc led France, after admittedly losing his first two games in charge, to a 21 game unbeaten run leading up to and including the first two games of Euro 2012.
Defeats to Sweden and Spain meant his time in charge ended on a sour note but it should none the less not be forgotten the sterling work he has done for France. He took a team derided in its homeland and abroad and made them into a true squad again, who the country were able to be proud of.
It was largely down to a dispute he had with Noel le Graet, the head of the French Football Federation, and his lack of willingness to renegotiate Blancís contract before the Euros. He offered him a deal during talks last week, but Blanc stepped down instead, preferring to seek employment elsewhere.
Now it seems set to be Didier Deschamps stepping into his shoes, after leaving his position as manager of Marseille. Deschamps will not find it easy to find a balance in the dressing room after another tournament marked by a split in the camp. Samir Nasri was at the heart of problems during Euro 2012, swearing at a journalist after the defeat to Spain in the quarter finals, whilst members of the squad admitted a rift took place after the Sweden loss.
It means that France, though undoubtedly highly talented, have an issue which needs resolution ahead of their World Cup qualifying campaign. The FFF may yet suspend Nasri, whilst other players could also face censure. The core of the team is there though, and even with a couple of suspended names, France have the quality to cope.
It may be that the new manager changes the defence slightly, with Mathieu Debuchy making the right back slot his own in Bacary Sagnaís absence. Sagnaís Arsenal team mate Laurent Koscielny may also win a regular spot in the team for his recent displays, whilst Yann MíVila should provide a solid base from which the midfield can be formed.
But with the French things are never quite as straightforward as they could be and Deschamps or whomever takes over has a tough job on their hands qualifying them for the World Cup in Brazil. Having been drawn in a group involving Spain, the challenge could not be tougher. Blanc did a sterling job during his two year spell, and has left with the media relatively supportive. His successor therefore has an even tougher task to take the country forward. It is for that reason that Deschamps, a World Cup winner and one of the most symbolically important players in their history, could be the ideal choice to take over.