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And Most Stylish Comeback Of the Year Goes To….

April 14, 2011

The French national team was effectively at ground-zero last summer. The signs were there before the group phase exit in Bloemfontein. The dubious manner of qualification had left a bitter taste in the mouth for many ahead of the tournament but it would be unfair to take any joy from their plight. They left South Africa with their heads firmly down after picking up only the solitary point (a draw against group winners Uruguay) and just the solitary goal scored (a consolation from Florent Malouda in their last game, a defeat to the hosts). That was without the horrendous squad fall-out prior to the game against the hosts in Bloemfontein. It’s well-documented as to what the consequences have been since the exclusion of Nicolas Anelka and the subsequent aborted training session, with the FFF itself undergoing a drastic reconstruction. In regards team affairs, former World Cup-winning defender Laurent Blanc has replaced the baffling persona that is Raymond Domenech (who can now be found reading horoscopes and stumbling around poker tables apparently). The first squad Blanc picked excluded all those selected at the prior World Cup. A sign of things to come as Blanc was looking to re-invigorate those who’d played for Les Bleus before and show that his selection is open to all those talented enough (no dismissing a player on their star sign here). Results while initially patchy have now taken an upturn and more too have the performances. Following a Euro 2012 qualification home defeat to Belarus back in September, France have won their 5 games since, including impressive displays away to Bosnia-Herzegovina and England as well as victory in a recent friendly hosting another giant of world football undergoing its own rebuilding process, Brazil.

There is also something else about this new-look France. They literally have a new look. They have new attire in which to revive themselves. While the team was beginning to improve in fortunes, their deal with Adidas had reached its conclusion and France are now outfitted by Adidas’ greatest rivals, Nike. The results are quite something. The results are, in a word, French. As stereotypically French as one could get.

Of course like everything, there will be people who dislike the shirts and for various reasons, the leading ones being difference in taste and nationalistic tendencies of course. The opinions i’ve gathered on the subject have shown a complete (dare say beautiful?) split in opinion for both home and away kits. On a personal level, I’ve gone and got myself a home shirt. I’ve worn it outside the home too. You’d be surprised how angry such a sight makes some people.

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