clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

France can win the World Cup because they're willing to be absurdly boring

England didn't offer them much of a challenge today, but that's not the point.

Matt Kryger-USA TODAY

It's a tired cliché, but it gets busted out regularly because it's true: There are three certainties in life -- death, taxes and English national football sides being absolutely devoid of attacking ideas. France didn't have to do a lot of work to grab a 1-0 win over the Three Lions on Tuesday, because once they went ahead, the game was in the bag.

But their performance can't be discounted just because England stink, because a lot of other good teams would have made a meal of that match. After all, England won their group and pushed France to penalties in the last World Cup; lacking creativity hasn't kept them down too much. Les Bleus won their opener so comfortably because they were willing and able to do something the United States and Germany either struggle with or refuse to do -- be unbelievably dull.

Teams with high possession rates and passing percentages are often playing the safest passes possible, trying to avoid turnovers because they don't want to get caught on the break. France is really, really good at this:

And on the rare occasion they do give the ball away, they have fantastic defensive midifelders and central defenders who are able to shut down mediocre attacks -- the only kind England know how to create.

France has a lot of fun attacking talent that didn't get to show their skills today, and it appeared to be a tactic. Once Eugenie Le Sommer scored the opener, France focused on retaining possession and England didn't know what to do about it. When they did recover the ball, there were already seven France players behind it and four pressing.

Nothing happened in this game after the goal. It was by design. France passed the ball in circles until the clock ran out, they can do it again, and that might win them the World Cup.