A week before the World Cups final in Brazil, the football world is once again divided over the merits of France’s performance against Spain. 

But for some, it’s the way the French players performed that matters. 

As the two sides look to claim their first title, it is now up to the world’s most successful side to show what they’ve got in the final. 

Here are five things to watch.


The midfield dominance French captain Mathieu Valbuena had on display during his side’s 4-0 win over Spain, with the likes of Lassana Diarra and Nicolas Anelka making the most of their roles to create chances. 

The French midfield, in particular, was a revelation in Brazil. 

Diarra, Anelkara, M’Baye Niang, Laurent Koscielny and Didier Deschamps all had a hand in creating chances for their teammates, with Anelkinga the main beneficiary. 

And they all did so despite the fact they were all expected to play centrally in the 4-4-2 system favoured by the likes and likes of Valbuenes’ team. 

“France were really good on the ball and they had all the possession,” Barca midfielder Victor Valdes told reporters on Sunday, when asked about Valbuenas’ performance. 

It was clear the midfielder and his teammates were not just playing their best football but they were also performing at the very highest level. 


The defence of the midfield The midfield has been the focus of much debate in Brazil so far. 

On one hand, Valbuens side looked solid against Spain, as they were dominant throughout the first half and kept a clean sheet. 

However, when they looked vulnerable in the second half, it was the defence who gave the hosts the lead. 

Valbuena and the rest of his team dominated the midfield throughout the game, with Diarras and Anelkas proving to be the most prolific of the group. 

Their performances, and the defensive play they put in, were crucial in the victory. 

With Valbuene and the other central midfielders so dominant, it looked like the French midfield was in good hands, although there was still plenty of room for improvement. 


The shape of the game The midfield of the French team was so dominant in Brazil that it made things difficult for the Spanish side, who had a couple of problems in defence. 

Firstly, Spain struggled to create clear-cut chances when defending. 

Secondly, they struggled to get the ball out of their own half and defend. 

Both of these issues are compounded by the fact that France’s side is playing a 4-3-3 formation. 

In a 4,5-2 formation, there is more space for the attacking players to get forward and create opportunities. 

France’s shape also creates more opportunities for the midfielders, with three of their six forwards in possession of the ball in the game. 

So when a player like Diaras gets forward with the ball, the wingers are open and the wide players are free to operate, whilst the centre-backs are on the back foot and the full-backs stay behind. 


The role of the left-back Despite the fact France’s midfield dominance was evident, the French left-backs played a major part in the success of the team.

 For instance, Miquel Sánchez was the man of the match in the 1-0 victory over Spain.

The left-sided full-back had a fantastic game, as he made four interceptions and created one goal for the side. 

Miquel, however, was also instrumental in the way his team did so. 

He made three interceptions and assisted two goals for his side.

The full- back also created two chances for his teammates, scoring the equaliser against the Spanish defence with a superb through ball from the left wing. 


The impact of the attacking midfielder The team’s attacking midfielder, Olivier Giroud, is arguably the team’s most influential player, with his performance against the Catalans in particular proving to have a huge impact. 

Giroud had four shots on goal and two of those were on target. 

After playing behind the striker, the Frenchman created two great chances for the team, scoring both of his goals for the second goal. 

 Goud has been a key player for France throughout their history and it’s clear that his contribution will continue to be significant in the run up to Brazil.


The form of the strikers With the French attacking midfielders dominating the play and making the greatest of their opportunities, there were a number of positives to take away from the match. 

For one, Olivier has been absolutely brilliant, and he’s now in contention to make the squad for Brazil.

Olivier also has a