France are out of Euro 2008 and it’s nothing less than they deserve after three truly horrible performances against Romania, the Netherlands and World Cup holders Italy.
Just how Raymond Domenech’s side managed to score just one goal in the tournament with a squad which included Thierry Henry, Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri is beyond me, but manage it they did.
In all honesty Domenech put in the one of the worst coaching performances I have witnessed in quite some time at this tournament as he has simply refused to play to his squad’s strengths. It was clear after the scoreless draw against Romania that the midfield pairing of Claude Makelele and Jeremy Toulalan was too defensive but he stuck with them until the bitter end and was duly punished for it.
The successful teams at this tournament have generally found the space to put four creative players on at one time but Domenech rarely found time for three. It robbed the chance for football observers to watch what was, going into the tournament, the best variety of attack players in the tournament.
Regardless, there is some good to take out of France’s early exit from an Arsenal perspective and it is that it should speed up the signing of Samir Nasri. According to reports the young Frenchman signed a pre-contract with the club before Euro 2008 commenced with the fine details to be ironed once France’s participation came to an end. Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Nasri holding up an Arsenal shirt before tournament concludes.
While the addition of Nasri to Arsenal’s books would give Arsene Wenger’s squad some required depth in attack it seems the manager is not keen to add any names to the club’s defensive department during the off-season, refuting claims that he might sign Hamburg defender Vincent Kompany in the process.
“I have been interested in Vincent Kompany ever since he was 16, but I am not interested in him this year. There is nobody I need for my team’s defensive department.”
Hmmm. If this quote is true then it’s a very uncharacteristic display of openness by Wenger and one which I completely disagree with. Assuming the signing of Nasri goes ahead I still feel Arsenal are two players short of what they require, with a defensive midfielder and a centre-back the priority.
Without signings in these departments I don’t think the Arsenal squad is big or strong enough to fight for both the Premiership and the Champions League and I would be bitterly disappointed if Wenger doesn’t recognise this too.
Update: I forgot to mention the Russia v Sweden match tonight. It should be an excellent contest and I’m just letting you know that I’ve put down a fiver on Guus Hiddink’s side to win and another fiver on Andrei Arshavin to net the first – and perhaps only – goal. Thoughts?
Have your say on Euro 2008, Samir Nasri or Wenger’s reluctance to sign a defender by leaving a comment.