EURO 2016: ‘Lucky’ France May Come Unstuck When it Gets Tough


The French rode their luck for the second game in a row when they scored two late goals in Marseille to defeat Albania for another victory to secure their place in the next round of the 2016 European Championships. Events are still unfolding, but some scenarios have confirmed things we always knew…

Dimitri Payet may not be at West Ham next season: Hammers fans look away now, your team is living on borrowed time as far as Payet is concerned. At the start of the tournament, we all thought Payet is good for a free kick goal or two: instead the little magician from Reunion is the live wire of the side. He’s been absolutely electrifying and has been at the heart of everything good in the French. And you can be sure the elites of Europe are watching…Wenger is already sniffing!

How do you describe Olivier Giroud? Should we borrow the term ‘riddle wrapped in an enigma’ or just face it and say he is of little use (he’s an international that plays for Arsenal, so he can’t be useless!) The ratio of amount of chances created to actual goals scored is too low for a striker that plays at such a high level. And for many French supporters, the seasonal groans of Gunners’ fans is now their lot…

On the other hand, Antoine Griezmann’s reputation as a finisher of note is getting stronger. He came off the bench to replace Kingsley Coman, and at the first opportunity, planted a header in goal…Giroud had tried unsuccessfully all night!

How often do analysts say this? Coaches make mistakes. Giovanni de Biasi will be having nightmares for months to come, each time he remembers that he took Arlind Arjeti off, and five minutes later his team fell apart.

The French are pretty to watch, but so far, have not been fantastic. However, Les Bleus have proved to be resilient. Three of their four goals so far – two of them crucial – have come in the last two minutes of the game. That’s mental strength.

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