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The official thread of the 23 for the WC

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The World Cup will be started in less than 50 days now and everywhere speculations, talks about who should be selected and who shouldn't, are reaching their peaks. Here's a great article by Planète Foot, a French monthly mag, this is the March 2002 issue, in which they did this study about who they believe to be and who are still incertain. So, enjoy and let us know if you agree and disagree, if yes, on what. As always, ALLEZ LES BLEUS!:star::star:

Les Bleus for the World Cup: the 23 probable chosen ones and why, by Planète Foot, of March 2002.

GOAL-KEEPERS: 3 spots.
Those certain of being selected:
Fabien Barthez, (46 selections). The indiscutable #1. He will be ready for the D-day, both in his head and his body.
Ulrich Ramé (10 selections). The number 2 has shown at numerous occasions, that he is more than just a good and reliable sub.

Those batlling for the final spot:
Grégory Coupet (1 selection). Number 2 in Chili, in Australia and against Roumania, he is scoring lots of points in the Championnat with his performances. His experience is a big asset in his favor.
Mikael Landreau (1 selection). In the mind of the coach, he was the # 4 at the Euro. Morever, the Nantes keeper has a very influential fan, Fabien Barthez. Landreau is the future.
Lionel Létizi (4 selecions). Injured for a long time in the beginning of this season, Lionel barely missed the 2 previous tournaments and hopes to be in the team this time around.

Planète Foot's Pronostic:
Coupet 60% - Landreau 50 % - Létizi 30 %.

The WHY?
The 3rd keeper is always an experienced player (Charbonnier in 98). Also, Landreau will be involved in the Under 12 Euro, just before the WC. Létizi has not been called up since the Chili game, at the opposite of Coupet, who has been regulalry called up since the beginning of the season.

DEFENDERS: 7 or 8 positions to decide.
Those certain of being selected:
Vincent Candela (34 selections, 2 goals). He is having a fantastic season, whether in defence or in midfield.
Marcel Desailly (91 selections, 3 goals). The Captain is OK. He has to watch out his little small injuries.
Franck Leboeuf (44 selections, 3 goals). Despite an injury that kept him out of the field in the beginning of the season, Franck is an indispensable member of the team.
Bixente Lizarazu (72 selections, 2 goals). For the Basque, the years go on, but the talent remains the same...
Willy Sagnol ( 8 selections). Since he joined Bayern, Willy has literally explosed.
Mikael Slyvestre ( 9 selections, 1 goal). The number sub in central defence is also very efficient in the left back position.
Lilian Thuram (71 selections, 2 goals). The Turin player still doesn't play in central defence, but he is still nonetheless, one of the pillars of the team. INDISPENSABLE!

Those battling for the remaining spots:
Philippe Christanval (2 selections). He is a true central defender. Philippe has imposed himself in Barça and he also represents the future. However, his lack of experience with Les Bleus can constitute an handicap.
Christian Karembeu ( 53 selections, 1 goal). In the logic of the selectin of the coach, he is the perfect player in a group. He is friend with all the other players and is also a very versatile player, as he can play both in defence and in midfield.

Planète Foot's pronostic:
Karembeu 80 % - Christanval 40 %.

The WHY?
Roger Lemerre is looking for immediate solutions, not for 2004. Christanval may not have enough experience with this group. Karembeu, selected since November of 1992, does not lack this vital experience at this level.

Those certain of being selected:
Claude Makelele ( 14 selections).
His transfer to Real has helped him reached a totally new level in his career, at the international level.
Emmanuel Petit ( 55 selections, 6 gaols).
Almost 12 years of experience within the National Team for Manu. He is the most experienced player of the group.
Robert Pires ( 55 selections, 10 goals). If he recuperates on time, he will be a definite starter. He has been in the form of his life and Lemerre is counting on him to be back.
Patrick Vieira ( 50 selections, 3 goals). Against Scotland, he played his 34th match in a row with France. If he plays against Russia, he would have reached the record of Manuel Amoros, between 1985 and 1989. Needless to add, he is an indispensable member of the team.
Zinédine Zidane ( 72 selections, 19 goals). Just one thing to say: we're all holding our breathe and praying on a daily basis that he reaches the World Cup without injuries. That's all!

Those battling for the final spots:
Alain Boghossian ( 24 selections, 2 goals). Alain left the France Group only due to injuries. He came back into the team in November of 2001, three years after his last selection. He still very hungry and will fight hard for a spot.
Eric Carrière ( 7 selections, 2 goals). He is battling with Johan Micoud for a position as an offensive midfielder. Despite a lack of experience with Les Bleus, he has integrated the group very rapidly.
Johan Micoud ( 12 selections, 1 goal). Even if he found his form in Parma, he hasn't been called up since last August. Will he be called again?
Youri Djorkaeff ( 76 selections, 28 goals). He just arrived at Bolton with the objective of getting in shape and back in form. With the confidence of the coach, he only has to be ready when the time comes.

Planète Foot's pronostic:
Djorkaeff 70 % - Boghossian 50 % - Carrière 50 % - Micoud 40 %.

The WHY?
Youri is currently under essay...for a few matches. Just the time to get back in shape and on form. After that, he will be again, an indiscutable element. If we consider him as a fifth forward, this will free another spot as an offensive forward. Carrière, often called in selection, or Micoud, not called since last summer, would be fighting for that spot. Then, a spot for a defensive midfielder will be left. Boghossian, back on form since last november, has good chances of being the lucky chosen. If that wouldn't be the case, then, Lemerre might opt for Karembeu in midfield and Christanval in defence.

Those certain of being selected:
Christophe Dugarry ( 51 selections, 7 goals). Christophe is a fighter as Lemerre like them.
Thierry Henry ( 34 selections, 12 goals). The forward in great form of the moment. Unstoppable currently, he should be scoring more with Les Bleus.
David Trézeguet ( 37 selections, 19 goals). It is his year. He is exploding with Juve and has been able to become indispensable in selection.
Sylvain Wiltord (37 selections, 12 goals). He is not one that people talk a lot about, but he is always here and present when needed.

Those battling for the final spots:
Nicolas Anelka (27 selections, 6 goals). After the Confederations Cup and 24 minutes in Australia, he has not been called by Lemerre, which isn't much, but he is not lacking fans inside the France group. Also, if he has a successful 2nd half with Liverpool, then he would be a definite choice...
Steve Marlet (7 selections, 2 goals). He could be one of the big surprises promised by Lemerre. Back from his injury, he's been playing and scoring regulalry with Fulham. A great start!
Djibril Cissé. ( 0 selection with the A team). He is THE player on form in France. He will also be involved with the U 21 at the U 21 Euro, just before the WC. It seems difficult for him, specially at his position, to be able to go from one big tournament, the U21 Euro to the WC, in a matter of a few days. But he is going so fast and is so unpredictable that no one knows...

Planète Foot's pronostic:
Anelka 50 % - Marlet 40 % - Cissé 20 %.

The WHY?
If we exclude the choice of Djorkaeff as the 5th forward, there would be in that case, 3 players for one spot. Cissé, due to his heavy schedule and involvment with the U21, it would be difficult for him. Then, the performances of Anelka, and of Marlet, with their respective clubs will be the deciding factors.
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