Saturday, July 22, 2017

What if France World Cup 1994

France in 1993 vs Bulgaria
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
South France
Players born in the Overeseas Department and former French Colonies
French Black Players 
French Players Capped by Other National Teams
England 1974

France had a good side in 1994.  They consisted of the 1991 Ballon d'or winner Jean Pierre Papin, Eric Cantona, Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps. They were on the edge for a qualification to the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA.  They only needed a draw with two games to spare.  First, they lost to Israel with a 90th minute goal.  On the very last match, France again lost to Bulgaria on another last minute goal.  Bulgaria and Sweden qualified for the World Cup Finals.

In the US, both Bulgaria and Sweden (the group winner of the WCQers) advanced all the way to the semifinal.  What if France qualified for the USA 1994? This is the 22 players I selected for France if they had qualified for USA 1994.

GK: Bernard Lama 
Lama left Guiana in 1981 to come to Franceto become a professional footballer.  He started with Lille, but also played in Brest and Metz.  In 1992, he joined PSG, where he found stardom.  He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1996.  After a brief career with West Ham and Rennes, he retired.  Capped 44 times.  He was mainly a backup throughout his NT career.  He was on the team that won the WC in 1998.

GK: Bruno Martini
Martini started playing professionally for AJ Auxerre. After a loan stint with AS Nancy, going on to appear in 322 Ligue 1 games while also helping it to a 1992–93 semifinal run in the UEFA Cup. Having gained more than 30 caps for France during nine years, Martini represented the nation in two European Championships: 1992 and 1996

GK: Fabien Barthez
He is France's most decorated goalkeeper.  He had 87 caps for "Les Bleus".  He won the World Cup in 1998 at home and then, the Euro 2000 two years later. He is France's most capped player in the World Cup, with 17 appearances at the finals and shares the record for the most World Cup finals clean sheets with Peter Shilton. For domestic football, he played with Toulouse, Marseille, AS Monaco, Manchester United and Nantes.  He also won Champions League medal with Marseille in 1993.  

RB: Jocelyn Angloma 
Angloma was a member of the great Marseille team of the early 1990's.  He won the European Cup in 1993.  He later played for Valencia and reached the Champions' League Final twice. He was a member of the French team at Euro 1992 and 1996.  In 2006, Angloma came out of retirement to play for his native région, Guadeloupe, and help them qualify for the 2007 Caribbean Nations Cup.
Jocelyn Angloma 
CB/DM: Paul Le Guen 
During his playing career, Le Guen played at Stade Brest for six years, Nantes Atlantique for two years, before leaving Brittany for Paris St. Germain where he played for seven years (with 478 appearances and a Cup Winners' Cup medal in 1996).  At international level he played 17 times for France due to injuries and he was part of the team which lost out on a trip to the World Cup in 1994.

CB: Laurent Blanc
Laurent Blanc was nicknamed  "Le Président" for leadership skills.  He had over 90 caps. He was a key member of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup  at home and the 2000 European Championship in Belgium and Holland.  The team was known for its defence as well as its offence. For his club career, he played for Montpellier, Napoli, Barcelona, Marseille, Internazionale and Manchester United.
Laurent Blanc
CB: Alain Roche 
In his club career, Alain Roche played for Bordeaux, Marseille, Auxerre, Paris SG and Valencia. His most productive years were spent at Paris St Germaine, where he notably won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1996. For France, he played 25 times between 1988 and 1996. He went to European Championship of 1996 in England.

CB: Basile Boli 
For club football, Basile Boli played for Auxerre, Marseille, Rangers (Scotland), Monaco and Urawa Reds (Japan).  He was a member of Bernard Tapie's Marseille that won the 1993 European Cup, the first ever for a French club. He scored the only goal at the Final against AC Milan.  He left the club in 1994.  For France, he won 45 caps.  He went to the European Championship of 1992 hosted by Sweden.  
Basile Boli 
LB:  Bixente Lizarazu
Bixente Lizarazu was the leftback for the all-conquering French team of 1998 and 2000.  He had 97 caps. Lizarazu began his professional career with Girondins de Bordeaux, but better known for playing with Bayern Munich for 9 seasons. He won the Champions' League in 2001. He is a Basque and played for Atletico Bilbao.  

LB: Éric Di Meco
Eric Di Meco played mostly for Olympique de Marseille, serving loans at AS Nancy and FC Martigues.  After Marseille's relegation at the end of the 1993–94 season, due to irregularities, Di Meco joined AS Monaco FC. He was capped 23 times for France between 1989 and 1996.  He went to European Championship of 1996.

CB/DM: Franck Sauzée
Franck Sauzée played 39 times for the France between 1988 and 1993, captaining the team several times. He won the 1993 Champions League Final and three league titles with Marseille. Later in his career he earned great plaudits for his performances for Scottish club Hibernian, whom Sauzée subsequently managed for a short period.

CB/DM:  Marcel Desailly 
Marcel Desailly was considered to be one of the greatest defensive players during the 1990's.  He played 116 times for France, winning the WC in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  He was the first player to win the European Cup in consecutive seasons with different clubs, when he won it with Marseille in 1993 and AC Milan the following year. He also played for Nantes and Chelsea, among others.

DM:  Didier Deschamps
Deschamps was only the second player in history to captain his team to lift the three big trophies: the Champions League trophy, the World Cup trophy and the European Championship trophy.  He started his career with Nantes. The prime of his career was spent with Marseille and Juventus, where he won a Champions League for both club.  He earned 103 caps between 1989 and 2000. He also played for Nantes, Chelsea and Valencia.
Didier Deschamps
CM: Emmanuel Petit
Petit had over 60 caps for France.  He represented France in two World Cups and two European Championships; he scored the third goal in France's 3–0 victory in the 1998 World Cup Final and was also a member of the French squad that won Euro 2000.  He played at club level for Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea as a midfielder.

CM: Vincent Guerin
In a career stretching from 1984 to 2002, Vincent Guerin played for Stade Brestois 29, Matra Racing, Montpellier Hérault, Paris Saint-Germain, Heart of Midlothian in Scotland and, finally, with Red Star 93. With PSG, he won the Cup Winners' Cup. He was capped 19 times for France.  He went to the 1996 European Championship in England.
Pascal Vahirua was born in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. He moved to France as a 16 years old.  In France, he spent most of his career with AJ Auxerre.  He also played for Coen. He was capped 22 times for France between 1991 and 1994.   He was the first Polynesian ever to play for France. He was a member of the French team at the European Championship in 1992.

LW: David Ginola 
For the national team, Ginola was blamed for the goal against Bulgaria that eliminated France for the 1994 WC qualification.  He moved to England shortly afterward.  Ginola became a big star at the English Preimer League in the late 1990's.  In England, he played for Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspurs, Aston Villa and Everton.  he won both PFA and FWA Player of the Year in 1998-1999. 

AM: Reynald Pedros 
Reynald Pedros was part of the magic trio of FC Nantes with Patrice Loko and Nicolas Ouédec in the 1990's. He won the Ligue 1 title with Nantes in 1995. The following year he reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. He also played for many clubs, including Mariselle, Nastia, Napoli, Parma, Lyon, etc. He was capped 25 times.  His reputation suffered after the European Championship in 1996, where he missed a penalty against the Czech Republic.
Reynald Pedros 
AM: Youri Djorkaeff 
Youri Djorkaeff is the son of French international Jean Djorkaeff. He played for many clubs in Europe, including Monaco, PSG, Inter Milan, Kaiserslautern, etc.  He was an important part of the great French team that won the World Cup in 1998 and then European Championship in 2000. He is considered one of the best French offensive players in that era.

FW: Eric Cantona 
Before joining Leeds United in 1992, Eric Cantona was known as the bad boy of French football.  He played for many French clubs before he moved to England to restart his career.  In England, he became a huge star.  He won the league title with Leeds United and moved to Manchester United.  At Manchester United, he became one of their best ever players. For the national team, he was a part of the ill-fated national team that failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1994. 
Eric Cantona
ST: Patrice Loko 
Once projected to be a star player in France before mental issue got to him. He began his career at Nantes and then moved on to Paris Saint-Germain, where he was part of the team that won the 1996 Cup Winners' Cup.  From there he went on to play for Montpellier, Lyon, Troyes, FC Lorient and Ajaccio. He also made appearances for France, including scoring at Euro 1996 against Bulgaria.

ST:  Jean Pierre Papin
Jean Pierre Papin is the Ballon d'Or winner in 1991. He was a member of the great Olympique de Marseille team of the 1990's that won four Lique in a row, but left the season before they lifted their first ever European Cup.  He later played for AC Milan, FC Bayern Munich, Bordeaux, Guingamp, JS Saint-Pierroise and US Cap-Ferret. Papin also played 54 times for the French national team. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1986 and the European Championship in 1992.  
Jean Pierre Papin

Players Pool
Xavier Gravelaine, Bernard Casoni, Jean-Philippe Durand, Laurent Fournier, Jean-Luc Dogon, Jérôme Gnako, Jean-Luc Sassus, Nicolas Ouédec.

Squad Explanation
-- Gérard Houllier was their manager who resigned after their failure in the World Cup Qualifiers. 
-- France played in the Kirin Cup on May, 1994, but their roster would not be the same if they had qualified for USA 1994.  
-- Fabian Barthez is the only player who made his debut after the ill-fated World Cup Qualifiers to make the imaginary team. In real life, he made his national team debut in June, 1994. Houllier was not the manager by then. I do not know if Houllier would give his debut.  But Barthez is probably the best third keeper available.
-- Lilian Thuram, Christian Karembeu, Zinedine Zidane and Christophe Dugarry all made their debut in 1994 after the World Cup Qualifying disaster.  If France qualified for USA 1994, France would have kept the qualifying team intact.  These players probably would have delayed their debut. 
-- Later in their careers, Reynard Pedros would lose out to Zinedine Zidane.  For USA 1994, I chose Pedros over Zidane.  Reynald Pedros were a part of the World Cup Qualifiers while Zidane had not played for France.  I tried to be as realistic as possible.
-- Mustapha Hadji who who was eligible for France chose to play for Morocco in 1993 before France was eliminated by Bulgaria in the World Cup Qualifiers.  He did not know that France won't be going to the 1994 World Cup Finals when he earned his first cap for Morocco.  His decision had not nothing to do with France's elimination from the World Cup Finals.
-- Both Corentin Martins and Youri Djorkaeff played in 1993.  Martins actually played more than Djorkaeff, but Djorkaeff finished as the 2nd top scorer in Ligue 1.
-- If France qualified for the World Cup Finals, David Ginola would not have committed the mistake that led to the elimination in the alternative world. He would not be a scapegoat. The same applied to Franck Sauzée and Basile Boli, who played their last international match against Bulgaria in real life. All three were selected.

I do not know if Gérard Houllier would use this formation.

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