France: Shortly before Uefa’s deadline, Laurent Blanc finalised his France squad for Euro 2012. There was no surprise when he cut ailing Olympique Lyonnais playmaker Yoan Gourcuff from his panel, but the decision to trim versatile Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will doubtless be greeted with some scepticism.
On Sunday, France disappointed defensively against Iceland. While they recorded an impressive 33 efforts on goal at the offensive end, they looked brittle and uncertain at the back, with the form of experienced players Philippe Mexes and Patrice Evra certainly cause for concern. Now Blanc has left himself a choice of only three centre-backs, meaning his 23-man panel - which is heavy in midfield - is susceptible to injury and suspension problems defensively.
Yanga-Mbiwa is also a different kind of centre-back to Mexes, Adil Rami and Laurent Koscielny. He exceeds the trio athletically, and would have provided cover in a back four that can often be found too square. Had he even a touch of top-level experience, he would almost certainly have made the grade.
First Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 19:45