GROUP A: Can France play down the ‘Hand of Frog’ impact?

They are there because of a controversial incident but can the French play down the impact the infamous ‘Hand of Frog’ has had on their players.

They are there because of a controversial incident but can the French play down the impact the infamous ‘Hand of Frog’ has had on their players.

After captain Thierry Henry’s decision to use his hand in the penalty against the Republic of Ireland in November, hullabaloo has followed Les Bleus everywhere they have gone but surely their key players are experienced enough and well-versed on the world stage to put that aside.

In 2006, they were the second best team in the world because of penalties, going down to Italy after their greatest ever player Zinedine Zidane lost control, and now one of their other greats is embroiled in a situation that is not ideal.

But at their best, France play sublime football and with a very experienced squad that is not too old, there is still a window of opportunity to achieve success.

Whether the real France of 1998 and 2006 turn up is another thing.

France

Playing schedule: Uruguay (Cape Town) June 11; Mexico (Polokwane) June 17; South Africa (Bloemfontein) June 22

Also known as: Les Bleus
Manager: Raymond Domenech (FRA)
Captain: Thierry Henry
Key players: Franck Ribery, Patrice Evra, Nicolas Anelka
Wildcard: Mathieu Valbuena
Player to watch: Yoann Gourcuff
Most caps: Lilian Thuram (142). Of this squad: Thierr Henry (120)
Top goalscorer:Thierry Henry (51)
FIFA ranking: 10
Qualifying: Play-off win after European group stage. Defeated Republic of Ireland.
Appearance: 13th
Best result: Winners – 1998

France squad

Goalkeepers

Hugo Lloris (Lyon)
Steven Mandanda (Marseille)
Cedric Carraso (Bodeaux)

Defenders

Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
Eric Abidal (Barcelona)
Anthony Reveillere (Lyon)
William Gallas (Arsenal)
Marc Planus (Bordeaux)
Patrice Evra (Manchester United)
Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla)
Gael Clichy (Arsenal)

Midfielders

Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux)
Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)
Florent Malouda (Chelsea)
Alou Diarra (Bordeaux)
Abou Diaby (Arsenal)
Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Forwards

Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos)
Sidney Govou (Lyon)
Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse)
Thierry Henry (Barcelona)
Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea)

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