Group A: France

HEY FRANCE- remember when you sold us all of the land west of the Mississippi for $15 million dollars? What, were you in bad credit card debt and just needed money? WHAT. THE FUCK. WERE YOU THINKING? Anyway, thanks for facilitating the worst real estate deal ever and turning us into a continental super power. I hope that every year on the anniversary of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase, our president calls their president and just laughs into the phone for a half hour. “HAHAHA GOTCHA BITCH!”

Nickname: Les Bleus- The Blues (REAL ORIGINAL)

Best Player: Frank Ribery, Attacking Midfielder (Winger), Bayern Munich

Outlook: It’s not all crepes and champagne for the French right now. Les Bleus arrive at the World Cup with a level of controversy and scandal usually reserved for the Italians. For starters, they stumbled through qualifying and won their decisive match over Ireland thanks to an egregious hand-ball by all-time leading scorer Thierry Henry in extra time. If that wasn’t enough, star Frank Ribery along with teammates Karim Benzema and Sydney Govou have been accused of having sex with an underage prostitute and could face significant jail time. In their defense, they claim they were only trying to “Roman Polanski that bitch”, so they’ve got that going for them.

Frank Ribery, the French Lawrence Taylor

Les Bleus have also been hit with several significant injuries of late including Barcelona midfielder Lassana Diarra, who will miss the World Cup, and Arsenal CB William Gallas who injured his leg while “buggy racing” during a team outing. As the previous sentence might suggest, France’s head coach Raymond Domenech, is an absolute jackass. If France fails to live up to its lofty expectations, Les Bleus’ followers will likely wind the clocks back a couple hundred years and give Domench the Marie Antoinette-treatment.  On the bright side for Domenech, he once had the most impressive

Truly astonishing face salad. You could cut diamonds on that thing.

mustache on the planet.

It’s not all bad for the French though, they’ll still trot out a starting XI that includes Ribery, Florent Malouda (MF, Chelsea), Nicolas Anelka (ST, Chelsea) and Eric Abidal (FB, Barcelona). They also have 23-year old phenom Hugo Lloris who plays goalie for Lyon. Not to be confused with Hugh Laurie, who plays House MD, the uncouth genius-doctor with a P.H.D. in uproarious cynicism.
All in all, Les Bleus will be one of the least predictable teams going into the World Cup as they could conceivably make it to the final four or bomb out in the group stage and neither would be a shock.

Most famous citizen: Tough one here, but I’ve gotta go with a three-way tie between Andre the Giant, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of StarFleet and Lady GaGa, who is apparently not French at all, but pretends that she is.  Also, an important debate here: who wins in a fight- Liam Neeson in Taken, who savaged about 80 Parisians or Jean Reno in The Professional, the French assassin who…also savaged about 80 Parisians? I’ll now spend the rest of my week reenacting fight sequences between them.

Prediction: Given the injuries, the scandal, and the number of great players lost from the ’06 team, this team is in a very precarious position. If they can rally around each other and put it all together on the pitch, this team could contend for the cup, however, their coach might be the most hated man in France, their captain is known far more for being a diva than a leader, and half of their attacking third may or may not have raped a 16 year old. These are not good omens. I see Les Bleus advancing past the group stage by the skin of their cigarette-and-wine-stained teeth then getting ousted in the round of 16.

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