Phillipe Bergeroo’s three years of improvements and failures

Back at the end of the Euro 2013, he took over from Bruno Bini and was tasked to win medals and title with France WNT. And the result is sadly negative.

At the time, France was an all attacking ball possession orientated team that was lacking power and something in the strength and conditioning side of things to rival with the top teams. This was Bruno Bini’s philosophy to attack, outplay the opposition by being creative and not to fight on the physical side. Because if you are good enough at football, you don’t need the physical battle to win games.

Phillipe Bergeroo came in and instill some more “professionalism” with a strong coaching staff and a bigger budget probably to improve the team.  He brought in Fred Aubert for the S&C side who did an excellent job and the French players are certainly fitter and stronger, and they can fight shoulder to shoulder with the top nations on that side.

Bergeroo also started using 4-4-2 as his main system from 2013 to 2015, using three forwards in Le Sommer, Delie and Thiney. He rigidly kept this system only moving to 4-1-4-1 when the situation on the pitch required an extra defensive midfielders.  Then after the World Cup 2015, forward options became scarce with Delie out of form and Thiney no longer selected and he moved on to a 4-2-3-1 system with a lone forward.

In those three years, the team changed slowly but surely becoming more pragmatic and less romantic.  This turn of things was needed as France started to play more friendlies against top quality opposition with wins over Germany and the USA en route to the World Cup.  That improvement in fitness, power and strength led to those success and a best ever third place in the FIFA rankings.

In the end, when we look at the results the manager brought they are disappointing : quarter-finals exit at the World Cup and Olympic Games.

Certain sections of  France fans vilified and abused Bruno Bini ( and still do today three years on) for being a failure to led France to win a medal or a title. They also blamed him for not using their favourite players or not selecting them at all. Funnily enough when Bergeroo applied to Thiney the method Bini used with Bompastor, they were nowhere to be heard. Another section of France fans then started to blame Bergeroo for Thiney’s unwanted exit. 

What goes around comes around. Those kind of problems happen frequently in international teams unfortunatly. 

Regarding Henry, everything has been said, some have the views that players should be selected regardless of the problems they create inside the squad and some don’t. And obviously the squad was very polarized under Bini between two factions and that problem kind of disappeared with Bergeroo removing one of the faction progressively.  Saying that there is no guarantee that the squad was working and living well together under Bergeroo but those problems happen in every team.

In the end, the team sustained the same finishing problems that prevented the players from winning anything or a medal. The quality of the attacking play also declined slowly but surely after the 2015 World Cup. Less creativity and more rigidity was seen in some of the Euro qualifiers and also in friendly tournaments.

That shift in philosophy did bring some success and that should not be forgotten but at the end of the day, the end product did not improve. And the manner of the defeat against Canada with long balling and nearly no creative passing and movement to find space and time was like a denial of France attacking football DNA.

So two quarter finals defeat is a failure on the targets set by the FFF and I would expect Bergeroo to resign or be dismissed in the days and week to come.

Published by Sylvain

women's football fan since 1998

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