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Blwe_torch

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Is Platini France's greatest?
« on: May 16, 2006, 02:17:36 AM »

Michel Platini has been one of my all time favorites. Here is an article from the Reuters.

Is Platini France's greatest?

Patrick Vignal

Who was voted best French soccer player of all time?

Zinedine Zidane, one would think, because he was the inspiration behind France's only World Cup triumph, in 1998 on home soil, and is such a gifted player.

Wrong. The answer is Michel Platini.



That poll from 2001, when Zidane was at the peak of his powers, sums up just how much the great Platini side captured the imagination of generations of football lovers despite the fact that they never won the most coveted of all trophies.

Just mention Platini to any French fan of 30-something or over and he will immediately come up with two more names: Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana.
The three formed arguably the most brilliant midfield combination ever seen. Forget rugby; in those days French flair was all about football.

That team, remembered as the Brazilians of Europe, never had a Thierry Henry or a David Trezeguet, nor even a decent scrambler, but who needed a striker with a Platini around?

The frail number 10 with the delicate touch scored 41 goals from 72 appearances for his country and, during his years at Juventus, ended as the top scorer in the Italian league three times -- quite an achievement for a midfielder.

UNIQUE SKILLS

In those days a player without the heart of a distance runner and the muscles of a body builder could make it to the top, which Platini did, relying only on his unique skills and game intelligence.

Tigana could run and Giresse, despite his short frame, could tackle but Platini just played with the ball.

"When I was a kid, my father told me that the ball would always go faster than I might do and I listened," Platini once said.

"Instead of running, I concentrated on letting the ball do the job. I never considered myself as an athlete."

The side won the 1984 European championship in France but on the World Cup stage they never went further than the semi-finals, in 1982 and 1986, falling to West Germany each time.

In Seville on July 8 1982, France played West Germany for a place in the final in Spain at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

The extraordinary match was marred by an infamous ugly scene when German keeper Toni Schumacher flattened French substitute Patrick Battiston with a flying tackle that left the Frenchman concussed, injured and needing hospital treatment.

The score was 1-1 after 90 minutes and France, inspired by great moves from their gleaming midfield trio, opened up a 3-1 lead in extra time before two late German goals forced a shootout, which France lost 5-4.

"One can forget certain things but that was unforgettable," Giresse, who scored France's third goal, said.

"The more you think about the game and how it went, the more you feel regret. If I carry on talking about that match for an hour, I get angry purely because of this irritation -- I have to stop it."

GREAT NAMES

On a hot afternoon in Guadalajara on June 21 1986, in the quarter-finals of the tournament in Mexico, France were challenging an awe-inspiring Brazil side featuring such great names as Zico, Socrates, Julio Cesar and Careca.

Platini and company needed a measure of luck but tamed their prestigious opponents. Brazil opened the scoring through Careca on 17 minutes, France levelled through Platini shortly before the break and in the second half France goalkeeper Joel Bats saved a Zico penalty. A shootout was needed and France won it 4-3.

"I will never forget that match," said former France and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit, who was 15 then. "It was so emotional. We were lucky to win in the end but we beat the best team in the world. I watched it at home on television and felt ever so proud of being French."
France had played their final too early, however, and were beaten 2-0 by West Germany in the last four.

Years later came Zidane whose vision, effortless close control, delicate turns and ability to create space made him one of soccer's greatest players.

That talent enabled Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, to live a life that most from his humble roots in the tough La Castellane district of Marseille could only dream about.


The Real Madrid midfielder, now 33, has said he will retire after leading France at next month's World Cup in Germany.

Platini has been impressed by Zidane's career, but only up to a point.

"Zidane does some extraordinary things, it's true. But you have to put everything in context," Platini said during Euro 2000, arguably Zidane's finest moment with France.

"What Zidane does with a ball, Maradona could do with an orange," added Platini, who was too modest, or too smart, to bring up his own name in the comparison.

(Reuters)



..........Great memories! I would also like to mention another name who used to play an important role to define the Great French mid-field at that time that is, Luis Fernandez. He later captained the French team, when his illustrious colleagues retired, probably during the worst phase of French football, after 1986.
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pieterSAN

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2006, 03:52:57 AM »

I have not seen Platini play but from what I hear he was something else. I would always have Eric Cantona ahead of Zidane, although Cantona has not had success with the French team.
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Blwe_torch

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2006, 04:44:30 AM »

Yes, I believe Eric Cantona deserves a mention. He was a maverick player, but I cannot say for sure, whether he was ahead of Zidane. He seems more like Thierry Henri, a player who excelled for his club rather than his country. I hope Henri makes up for all the past mediocre shows this time.

BTW...I am not too sure whether Platini is ahead of Zidane myself, although I am a great fan of the former.
After all, who can forget Zidane's 2 crucial goals against Brazil in the 1998 WC Final? Those goals seperate the Champions from the lesser ones.
Platini could weave a lot of magic and could arrive in places least expected, but when France needed him most, he was not there. He was an inspirational leader who helped shape the modern French football team.
The voting in France is clearly biased against the great Zidane. I dare say, the French couldn't overcome their chauvinistic feelings while casting their votes. After all Zidane is known more by his immigrant Algerian parentage.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2006, 04:49:36 AM by Blwe_torch »
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kban1

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2006, 06:11:35 AM »

Platini was definitely greater than Zidane in my books and that French side was awesome too.

But not sure if it was better than the one that won the 98 WC, at least from a mental fortitude standpoint --rough tactics teams like germany always managed to stall them  and did so in successive WCs.

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Blwe_torch

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2006, 07:45:13 AM »

Platini was definitely greater than Zidane in my books and that French side was awesome too.

But not sure if it was better than the one that won the 98 WC, at least from a mental fortitude standpoint --rough tactics teams like germany always managed to stall them  and did so in successive WCs.



You are right...one needs more to be a Champion rather than just flair.
The 98 French team was more complete than the earlier team.
But the earlier team...inspired by Platini played some champagne football. I can never forget that semifinal against Germany in 1982....the famous run of Girese and Tigana....and the magic of Platini.
Also that QF against Brazil..........Joel Bats showed his magic along with Platini again. Luis Fernandez did well too.
But Zidane's brace in the final against Brazil, 1998....crowns them all.



But the best football match I have ever seen?....The 1982 semi-final..France vs Germany in Seville, Spain. We sat upto 3 in the early morning, by  the time 'sudden-death' finished.
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kban1

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2006, 05:48:08 AM »

Blwe,

with all due respect, France was lucky to win the QF against Brazil in 1986. Zico (normal time) and Socrates (tie break) missed penalties and Platini's equalizer in regular time came as another French player lay over the Brazilian goalkeeper, thereby preventing the goalie from getting up and blocking Platini's shot. Strangely, the referee did not say a word despite Brazilian protests.

And it was a match dominated by Brazil only for them to squander it in regular time and the penalty shoot out. Also Joel Bats made a good save in the shootout in as much as he guessed which way Socrates would shoot the ball.

To me, that was one of the better Brazilian squads not to have won the WC (That line up boasted Zico, Socrates, Careca, and Junior plus a host of other playmakers). The final should have been Brazil vs Argntina --now that would have been something to watch at Azteca -- Maradona in top form vs Brazilian wizadry led by Zico, Socrates, and Careca
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 05:51:56 AM by kban1 »
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Blwe_torch

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2006, 07:50:43 AM »

Blwe,

with all due respect, France was lucky to win the QF against Brazil in 1986. Zico (normal time) and Socrates (tie break) missed penalties and Platini's equalizer in regular time came as another French player lay over the Brazilian goalkeeper, thereby preventing the goalie from getting up and blocking Platini's shot. Strangely, the referee did not say a word despite Brazilian protests.

And it was a match dominated by Brazil only for them to squander it in regular time and the penalty shoot out. Also Joel Bats made a good save in the shootout in as much as he guessed which way Socrates would shoot the ball.

To me, that was one of the better Brazilian squads not to have won the WC (That line up boasted Zico, Socrates, Careca, and Junior plus a host of other playmakers). The final should have been Brazil vs Argntina --now that would have been something to watch at Azteca -- Maradona in top form vs Brazilian wizadry led by Zico, Socrates, and Careca

Well, I saw that match...late-night TV.
The French player who fall over was Yannick Stopyra, but I don't think, there was any foul there...for or against Brazil.
France played very well, after Brazil started well thru Careca.
I remember Platini too missed a penalty.
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kban1

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2006, 04:17:35 AM »

the point is Stopyra prevented the goal keeper from recovering and attempting to stop Platinis shot --nice bit of gamesmanship which escaped under the radar.

Platini's penalty miss was in the penalty shoot out as was Socrates

The one in regular time was Zico's and that should have decided the game in favor of Brazil. France pleyed well but were lucky. Brazil played better but were unlucky --my distinct impressions of the match.
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feverpitch

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2011, 12:01:31 PM »

I have not seen Platini play but from what I hear he was something else. I would always have Eric Cantona ahead of Zidane, although Cantona has not had success with the French team.

English media hoohaa aside, Cantona was a decent player in a minnows league (English teams was banned from European Cups after Heysel '85, and were anyway pretty inward looking till the late '90s about phoren players) and thus attracted little talent from outside commonwealth (Grobbellar) and aryan nations (mostly nordic: think of the Danes)... He was one of the two architects of ManU's reprise after the Ramsay era ended in the late sixties... the other being SAF. But then, anything that involves ManU has to be considered with extra points, for neophyte Indian socceroos...
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feverpitch

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 12:03:15 PM »

the point is Stopyra prevented the goal keeper from recovering and attempting to stop Platinis shot --nice bit of gamesmanship which escaped under the radar.

Platini's penalty miss was in the penalty shoot out as was Socrates

The one in regular time was Zico's and that should have decided the game in favor of Brazil. France pleyed well but were lucky. Brazil played better but were unlucky --my distinct impressions of the match.

couldnt agree more. careca also missed a few sitters, bats had 2 great point blank saves in regular time, and once each, edinho and branco hit the bar...
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feverpitch

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2011, 12:11:24 PM »

I would also like to mention another name who used to play an important role to define the Great French mid-field at that time that is, Luis Fernandez. He later captained the French team, when his illustrious colleagues retired, probably during the worst phase of French football, after 1986.

Yes. The four, together, formed the 'magic quartet'.

the strikers were as lame as in 1998... 1978 to 1988, they had rocheteau, stopyra, papin... good club players, flops internationally...

the article doesn't mention Platini scoring 9 out of 14 French goals in the 6 games of the the 84 Euro, including 5 freekicks, 2 pens, one header and one mazy run... he scored all the knockout goals for france... never has a player dominated a continental competition as MP did in 84.
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Blwe_torch

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Re: Is Platini France's greatest?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2011, 03:34:04 PM »

Let me mention that QF at Guadelzara, Mexico in 1986..............that was the peak of the Platini era. France would soon go downhill there on. They didn't even qualify for the 1990 WC...when Klinnsmann/ Mathaus, etc hold the cup for Germany.
I can see, where FP and kban are coming from. You guys are Brazil supporters and hence think that France was lucky to get away that day. Even Emmanuel Petit( another brilliant French mid-fielder, later on) seems to think so.
But let me tell you the other side of the story....I was an avowed French supporter then, and even now...............................and only for that moment of brilliance from Careca and the initial forays.....France had the Brazilians all bottled up that day. France picked up the pace....from the middle of the first half...and the Brazilians only played a catch-up game from then on.
Platini was brilliant as usual........even his goal was a piece of magic. I was following Platini on the TV screens....but was surprised to see him 'arrive on the scene' out of nowhere, and tap in through the opportunity created by Stopyra. Any obstruction that Stopyra might have created for the Brazilian goal-keeper was just part of the game and nothing more than that.
Luis Fernandez too marshaled the defense and the mid-field brilliantly...........and I could see the Brazilians getting more and more frustrated...as the game wore on. Joel Bats was exceptional that day, that goes without saying.

Since then...France took a dip only to come up with Zidane...and now they are back into the dip.....
The English, snobbish about their football.........do not think much of the French football..................but funnily most of their teams have been heavily dependent on the French.....be it Cantona...or Papin.....or Desailly...or Anelka.......or Henri..........to carry them through.
I hope another super-star comes up soon...................without the French flair, the world-cups feel barren.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 03:38:22 PM by Blwe_torch »
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