Are France – and Deschamps – about to repeat history?

first_img0Shares0000Didier Deschamps’ France team are getting better with each game © AFP / FRANCK FIFENIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russian Federation, Jul 7 – It was just 20 days before France’s comprehensive quarter-final victory over Uruguay that Les Bleus took to the field to begin their 2018 World Cup campaign against Australia.Ninety largely forgettable minutes followed, unless you count the VAR incidents, and France scraped home 2-1 against a rank outsider. France’s goals came via the penalty spot and an Aziz Behich own goal.Insipid and uninspiring, those analysts who had pointed to France as potential world champions before a ball had been kicked were probably keeping quiet that day.An uninspiring 1-0 win against Peru followed and then came the convenient 0-0 draw with Denmark.France had been “boring” in qualifying for the knockout stage, critics said.They were quickly moving from a team tipped as genuine title winners to also-rans.How that has changed in less than a week.Kylian Mbappe was a constant menace to the Uruguay defence © AFP / Martin BERNETTIFollowing a thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina in probably the match of the tournament, which introduced the rest of the world to wunderkind Kylian Mbappe, through to their comprehensive dismantling of street-tough Uruguay on Friday, France are now into a semi-final against Belgium.The big question is, can France go all the way?It was a question Didier Deschamps was asked after the Uruguay win.“All I can say at the moment is that we have the potential to be in the semi-finals,” said Deschamps, coyly.“Let’s see what happens,” he continued. “We grew against Argentina. It could have been a one-off against Argentina but today we showed we have grown.“We played well but it was not the perfect match. There are so many things that we can improve on.”– Lessons from history –No doubt that is true but it is also clear that France are doing what other successful teams at the World Cup have done, namely get stronger with each game and against progressively better opponents.Asked to make the step up in class that each round of the World Cup requires, France have not been found wanting.They have “momentum”, a curious intangible concept, which nevertheless has been ascribed to several teams whose faltering start has given way to a rousing finish.There are plenty of examples in World Cup history from which France and their supporters can draw parallels from.Probably the best is Italy in 1982, who drew 0-0 with Poland, 1-1 with Peru and 1-1 with debutants Cameroon to scrape through to the next round without a victory and on goal difference from the Africans.The apoplectic Italian press was so critical of Italy’s performances that coach Enzo Bearzot refused to talk to the media.Then drawn into a group containing Argentina and champions-elect Brazil, Italy exploded into life, winning both games, including the legendary 3-2 win over the Brazilians, thanks to a Paolo Rossi hat trick.They beat Poland again, then West Germany to lift the World Cup.But France — and Deschamps — are probably more likely to point to their 1998 World Cup win as the more relevant historical parallel.Inspired by Zinedine Zidane, France glided through the group stage at the World Cup they were hosting, but they were resolute rather than impressive.A last-16 extra-time win over Paraguay did nothing to convince the doubters, nor a quarter-final win on penalties over Italy.In the semi-final, France conceded first against Croatia, then Lilian Thuram memorably scored the only two goals of his international career to send an unconvincing France into the final.In their next 90 minutes, Deschamps skippered the team to its most golden victory and eternal fame.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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FOUR MEN TO APPEAR IN COURT TODAY FOLLOWING GARDA CHASE

first_imgThe car involved in the incident in Castlefin yesterday.Four men are to appear in court today following yesterday’s chase in which a Garda car was badly damaged.The men, who are understood to be from Northern Ireland, will appear at Buncrana District Court. The men were arrested yesterday afternoon near Castlefin following a Garda operation.It followed an operation in which Gardai put out appeals on the movements of a silver Mercedes car.The car was observed and a pursuit took place.The men were arrested in a follow-up operation which also involved the co-operation of he local community.The men were taken to Letterkenny and Milford Garda stations for questioning overnight.They will appear before Judge Paul Kelly today.FOUR MEN TO APPEAR IN COURT TODAY FOLLOWING GARDA CHASE was last modified: July 10th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:buncrana courtcastlefindonegalGardailast_img read more

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WOW! THOUSANDS OF PROTESTORS ENCIRCLE FINE GAEL ARD FHEIS

first_imgTHIS is the scene today as thousands and thousands of anti-household tax protestors marched on the Fine Gael Ard Fheis at the national convention centre in Dublin.RTE and Gardai put the numbers at around 5,000, with organisers estimating up to 10,000.The protestors had joined a group of Donegal protestors who were completing the final leg of a three-week 280-mile walk from Malin Head to the capital. Two protesters attempted to push their way through a massive Garda security cordon but were pushed back by gardaí.A near riot broke out during the protests when a Fine Gael delegate who resembled Phil Hogan tried to pass through the crowd.The man was engulfed by angry protesters and jostled before gardai came to his rescue.As they attempted to escort him from the area they were surrounded by screaming protesters, some of whom shouted “shame on you Hogan.” The man was visibly shaken as he was put into a Garda squad car and driven away at speed.Earlier a number of Fine Gael delegates who ventured through the crowd were also subject to verbal abuse.Leaders of the opposition campaign, including a number of TDs, will address the rally.People inside the Convention Centre have been told to move away from windows to avoid “antagonising the crowds”.Joe Murphy, from Inishowen, said he was “astonished by the massive show of support for the walkers here today.” He had appeared last night on the Late Late Show ahead of today’s march from Pheonix Park via O’Connell Street.He said the protest would be peaceful and “demonstrate to this Government the real anger of the people.”Earlier Alan Shatter was criticised after he had told the marchers to “get a life.”WOW! THOUSANDS OF PROTESTORS ENCIRCLE FINE GAEL ARD FHEIS was last modified: March 31st, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:WOW! THOUSANDS OF PROTESTORS ENCIRCLE FINE GAEL ARD FHEISlast_img read more

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