Blanc: Rebuilding France starts from bottom

Rebuilding France after its World Cup debacle means starting

from the bottom and changing selection criteria from the youngest

players up while looking to Spain as a model, according to coach

Laurent Blanc.

Blanc said on Tuesday that France’s current criteria would mean

even Spanish standouts like Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta would

have trouble coming up the ranks.

”Criteria choice is important and they are not the same in

Spanish football as French football. Players like Xavi and Iniesta,

in France they would have a hard time getting through,” Blanc

said. ”Selection criteria (in France) at one time was for

(physically) big players while in Spain, it’s the football that

counts, the technical qualities.

”The criteria is not good enough in France – we need other


Germany coach Joachim Loew and Netherlands coach Bert van

Marwijk agreed with Blanc that Spain was world and European

champion in part to its decision to put trust in young players, and

the healthy state of the country’s club football.

”It’s a good example to follow for all football nations, to

have the same policies as them, and if everyone manages to have the

same players as them then everyone would be happy,” said


He reminded that France was also a model following its World Cup

and Euro 2000 double. ”(But) selection criteria in Spain is not

the same as in France. The choice of criteria is what is important.

They are not the same in Spanish football as French football.”

The three coaches were in the Spanish capital until Wednesday to

participate in a UEFA European coaches conference.

Loew expected Germany World Cup standouts Mesut Oezil and Sami

Khedira to grow as players – and benefit their home country – by

playing in Spain under Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.

”If you see the football here in Spain, the league here, they

have a lot of high quality teams. I love the way (coach Pep)

Guardiola and these Barcelona people play – very good technically,

very fast, very offensive style,” said Loew, whose trust in a

youthful squad took Germany to the semifinals, where it lost to

Spain. ”Young players are very good because they have a very good

education these days … and are very strong in their


Loew commended new Italy coach Cesare Pranelli for placing faith

in a young team after a poor showing in South Africa this summer,

but the coaches said patience was also key.

”You need time. There are cycles and you have to be patient,”

Blanc said. ”The problem is all nations want to win. Now it’s a

Spanish (cycle).”

England coach Fabio Capello said success for any coach was

impossible without one key ingredient: Players.

”You can’t create players,” the Italian said. ”They are

either born or not.”