The history of French football will never be complete without the mention of Michel Francois Platini. The elegant former French international Midfielder and Captain was a beauty to behold during his playing days.
The imposing and absolute manner to which he orchestrated the midfield of the great French side of the 80s was absolutely fantastic! Though, he made his world cup debut in the 1978 world cup in Argentina, but his impact at a later world cup that was hosted by Spain in 1982, was astronomical.
There is no doubting the fact that the famous former French midfielder was a midfield dynamo and a true leader of the Le Bleus Squad of the 80s. His offensive and meaningful contributions almost made the French side of the 1982 world cup side, to post a memorable win over West Germany in the Semi-Finals. Catastrophic display and awful defending from the Le Bleus allowed the Germans to come back from 3-1 to level scores at 3-3 during extra time. The Germans eventually triumphed over the French in the ensuring penalty shootout to advance to the final. However, the French talisman anchored the French midfield alongside Jean Tigana and Alain Giresse with majestic splendor and aplomb. It was an unforgettable era in French football history.
In fact, the act of classic number “10” in French football to which a dynamic playmaker sets and dictates team play while he has two tired less defensive midfielders doing the bulldozing and man marking job for him while the playmaker goes ahead to orchestrate and impose his flair and finesse on the team. Michael Platini, however, did this perfectly well even though they lost two successive (1982 and 1986) semifinal ties to perpetual nemesis West Germany, this great French Squad hosted and won the European Championship in 1984, and, this serves as a consolation to their inability to lift the world.
Interestingly, though, the exit of key French players of the 80s from the national team did contribute to a slide in fortune of the French national team as they failed to qualify for two back to back world cup finals (1990 and 1994). They hosted the world cup in 1998. And with a vociferous home support, France won the world cup for the first time.
The 1998 world cup winning squad of Le bleus presented yet another generation of great players with Zinedine Zidane who wore the iconic number 10 jersey as previously worn by the legendary Michel Platini, acted as the “classic number 10” and playmaker of the team.
But what remains a debate for another day are comparisons between the French squad of the 80s and the late 90s as well as early 2000.
But nevertheless, as the current French side intensifies preparations for the Russia 2018 world cup, the team is poised to make amends for its inability to win the European Championship they hosted in 2016, to which they played in the final but lost 1-0 to Portugal. Former French Captain, Didier Deschamp has been at the helm of the French Technical Crew Since the acrimonious exit of Raymond Domenech in 2010. He’s been able to bring in new players and impose his philosophy on the team. Though, the team has been inconsistent of late judging by their outings in International friendly fixtures, the le bleus are a big footballing nation with pedigree, and in giving a fair assessment of the team, they might not win the world cup, but, may get to the quarter finals or semifinals.
More so, the French side that is going the 2018 world cup are full of talents but whether they could ruffle feathers with Brazil, Belgium, Germany and Spain to cart home their second world title remains an illusion. But Coach Didier Deschamp can continue to dream and hope that Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Alexander Lacazate and others play to his instructions and raise their games to help the French get in the mix with other world cup favorites.
Can this generation of French players win the world cup and their name written in Gold? Yes, they have the talent, but do they have the quality to post a threat to the likes of Belgium, Brazil, Germany and even the Spanish for the world title?