Tunisia 1-1 France: Gallas spares Les Bleus blushes

30th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

Since winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup on home soil, France have built up an unwanted reputation of being unreliable from a punters perspective, with ‘inconsistency’ a word never too far away from the lips of pundits whenever France come to mind. So we suppose no-one should be at all surprised that France were once again at their frustrating best against Tunisia on Sunday night, scraping a draw out of a match they would have expected to win beforehand, and against a team far inferior in quality to those they will face in South Africa in just over a weeks time.


Considering this was sort of a mini international derby in terms of Tunisia being a former French colony, the atmosphere inside the stadium in Tunisia was surprisingly upbeat and healthy. The volume of noise was turned up a few notches however when the hosts took a surprise lead just minutes into the game, Issam Jemaa tapping into an empty net after just six minutes had passed. Some lacklustre marking and tracking back from the France defence was to blame for their early setback, although Tunisia looked bright and energetic in the early exchanges and weren’t exactly justifying their underdog status. However, it wasn’t long before Tunisia began to sit back and attempt to guard their lead, playing counter-attacking football in the knowledge that France would now have to come at them, and France did and Raymond Domenech’s men had the hosts pinned into their own half for the majority of the first half, creating a number of half-chances but nothing clear cut.

In a first half which derived of mainly frustration from the former FIFA World Cup champs, Franck Ribery was one of a select few who shined, with his blistering runs down the left causing the Tunisian defenders plenty of problems, more times than not resulting in the Bayern Munich Bavarian being closely attended by 2 or 3 defenders at a time. However, coach Domenech, who hasn’t endeared himself to the France public during his lengthy tenure as France manager, relived Ribery of his duties at half-time and gave Barcelona bench-warmer Thierry Henry a second half run-out. Granted France were in control of possession for the most part of the second half, with Gourcuff in particular very accomplished on the ball in terms of comfortability on the ball, vision and range of passing. And it was the Bordeaux play-maker’s delicious free-kick which found the head of William Gallas in the 62nd minute to level the game, although minutes later Gourcuff would be subbed, once against  the dismay of the French supporters who were desperate to see another Les Bleus victory.


Djibril Cisse played the last quarter of the game, as well did Andre Pierre Gignac, but neither made a real impact on proceedings and that will be of great concern for Domenech, as France will need a super-sub at one stage during the forthcoming World Cup judging by tonight’s game. Overall, though, an average performance once again from France against a side they really should have beaten, and beaten comfortably. This time however, they weren’t to etch out a victory despite a disappointing team performance.

The plus point will have been the commitment and drive of the France players, with their willingness to commit men to attack commendable. However, they struggled to carve out opportunities through passing moves and often rely on the pace of Bacary Sagna down the right and Ribery and Evra on the left for regular service into the strikers. While using their assets on the wings has proven effective for France on more than one occasion in other matches, on this occasion it wasn’t and it’s two areas of the pitch where France are reasonably strong but two areas where their future opponents can easily maintain.


Raymond Domenech will lead his men into one final friendly encounter against China before the team head out to South Africa ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. France were drawn in Group A alongside hosts South Africa, Uruguay and Mexico and will kick off their campaign on June 11th, the opening day of the tournament, against the dangerous South Americans.

Goals: I. Jemaa (Tunisia) – W. Gallas (France)

World-Cup-Betting Man of the Match: Yoann Gourcuff

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