Blanc: Germany test will help us progress
"In sport, going up against the best is a necessity, that's what allows you to progress," Blanc said today after naming a 23-man squad for a friendly against Germany in Bremen on 29 February.
With the EURO 2012 less than four months away, Blanc continues to run the rule over the players he will take to Ukraine and Poland this summer. And while he believes Germany could teach them a footballing lesson, he has said France needs quality matches ahead of the championships.
"The EURO will be a big test for us and playing Germany allows us to gauge ourselves against one of the strongest teams in the world, along with Spain," said Blanc. "We're not at their level, but we'll be going there with our best team. What are we risking? Everyone thinks we'll be humiliated, but that just gives us more motivation."
Playing a team like Germany requires real preparation. It's only after this match that we'll be able to see how much progress we have still to make.
While Germany head into this summer's championships among the title favourites, France will hope to give a solid account of themselves after their last two, forgettable international campaigns. After becoming world champions in 1998 and EURO champions in 2000, France failed to get past the group stage at EURO 2008.
Despite being runners-up to Italy at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, four years later an unconvincing team on the pitch, combined with a players' mutiny against coach Raymond Domenech, led to a humiliating exit from the group stages.
Blanc, brought on board in the aftermath, said the "framework" of his EURO squad was already in place but reminded those on the fringe that places could still be up for grabs. "The framework is already in place, but there are five or six positions that are still not tied down."
Blanc believes his task has not been made easier by the constraints of working as a national team coach. "It's hard to make progress because you need time to work on things, and that's something we don't have a lot of," Blanc added.
"Playing a team like Germany requires real preparation. It's only after this match that we'll be able to see how much progress we have still to make."
Coy on which criteria he would use to choose his squad, Blanc did say: "If someone's not playing enough (at their club) it becomes a problem. To me, it's only logical. I don't rule anyone out and the door must remain open to the players who are playing well.