On Domenech

I just listened to Dave critiquing the predictability of Bordeaux this season.

Well you can’t attack Domenech for being predictable, however you can attack Domenech for being unpredictable. As it sat sitting, watching William Gallas and co do what they do, I realised that this French team has personality. Without personality (and personality clash), difference, unexpectedness, football is vapid.  A French woman in Perth asked me yesterday if I liked the French team.

My answer was – I like some of the French team, discussed the merits of Valbuena, Mandanda, but the manager, he is a problem for me. Upon reflection, I don’t know if he is anymore. Perhaps my distance from the team (emotional and cartographical), and lack of desparation for success, can give me this almost dispassionate fascination.

I want France to be succesful just so I can retort to beligerant Irish (I’m referring to individuals, not the entire nation) that there were “no guarantees” that Ireland would progress. I want France to be succesful because they do have personality, narrative. I don’t want France to be successful as much as I want others to have success (Australia for my petty patriotism, Chile for the amazing brand of football they play, Paraguay because every day is Sunday in Paraguay and so I can work out why Lucas Barrios scores goals). It is a pleasant middle ground, and one I occupy comfortably.

In the words of occasional guest to the Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast Rafael Honigstein
“It takes an absolute genius to make so many talented players play this badly together.

Having watched Uruguay play like Uruguay can (but clearly didn’t set up to do against France), I’ve decided France will get out of the group. Whether this is because of, despite or regardless of Domenech is in so many ways fascinating. Plenty is going on inside Raymond Domenech’s head, and I think it is a lot more complex than what he’s given credit for. Madness can be good madness, as Fredorraci hints at, but I’d also add that this madness, whether good or not, gives an individuality and a narrative unlike others’.

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