Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Les 23 pour l'Afrique du Sud

I'm rooting for two teams in the 2010 World Cup -- USA and France. I have been rooting for Les Bleus for the last two decades now beginning with the team of Youri Djorkaeff, Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly, Zinedine Zidane, and Patrick Vieira. This will in all likelihood be Thierry Henry's last World Cup (and he's team captain) and he should really try and go out with a bang because he had a sub-par season with Barcelona. But much of Les Bleus' success will have to do with their young midfield corps of Jeremy Toulalan, Franck Ribery, and Yoann Gourcuff. If they slice through opposing team's then that will open up the field for Nicolas Anelka and Henry. The problem with this team is that they are notoriously slow starters. Their last run in Germany was largely fueled by the individual brilliance of Zidane and Ribery who was a breakout star for the French. Also gone are Lilian Thuram, Claude Makelele, Vieira, and Fabian Barthez.

Although they stumbled on their way to South Africa, the fact that they have qualified for four straight trips to football's biggest stage is huge. They may not strike fear in the hearts of opponents as they once did but you can never discount them. Not with their rising stars.

It's up to Gourcuff and Toulalan to show that they belong. They're in Group A along with hosts South Africa, Mexico, and Uruguay. They shouldn't take any team lightly.

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