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Ben Arfa Playing for His Place – France v Iceland

Posted on May 27th, 2012 | 61 Comments |

Hatem Ben Arfa - France.
Allez HBA!
France begin their warm up schedule for the Euros at 8pm tonight against Iceland at the Stade De Hainaut in Valenciennes. The match will be televised in the UK on ESPN.

A number of players deployed by Les Bleus are regarded as fringe players who can still force their way into the final French squad for the European championship opener against England in June. Mathieu Debuchy, Gael Clichy, Yoann Gourcuff, Marvin Martin, Hatem Ben Arfa, Mathieu Valbuena, Jeremy Menez and Olivier Giroud are all among those who could get a look in at Valenciennes. Striker Loic Remy has been ruled out of contention for the Euros.

Yohan Cabaye will also play but his place in the final squad is thought to be secured.

Hatem Ben Arfa has admitted he is a bag of nerves going into this game, as he was in the same position in 2008 when he was cruelly left out of the final squad.

Hatem Said: “I have knots in my stomach. I was shocked in 2008 and it probably took me a whole season to get over it. But this is football. I will respect the coach’s decision even if it does not go my way. I don’t know what will happen. All I can do is try my best and hope the coach takes me to the championships.

“I am 25 now and I am far more mature as a person and as a player compared to four years ago.”

France Manager Laurent Blanc had this to say:There will be a lot of turnover against Iceland. There’ll probably be a few changes against Serbia and a bit less against Estonia. The aim of the last game is to know most of the players who will start against England. Our status hasn’t changed, but the way people are looking us certainly has. The win in Germany showed that, over one game, we could raise our level. But doing so over a whole competition is a different matter.”

Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is expected to line up for Iceland as well as Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson, Johann Gudmundsson of AZ Alkmaar and Ajax’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.

Iceland Manager Lars Lagerbäck: “I am very pleased to have these games. You take a little risk because it is never good for a team to lose all the time and that is a danger playing against good teams but I prefer to run that risk because if you want to develop into a good team you have to test the players against as good a team as possible.”

From a Newcastle United fan’s perspective, I guess we want what is best for our players. I hope Ben Arfa plays well and gets his place in the squad as it is what he wants, and it can do nothing but good for his confidence going forward.

However, would we really be that sad if he were left out? These international games are a risk from our perspective. Apart from the obvious risk of injury, the Euros are also a massive shop window, and if Ben Arfa plays at the top of his game (and Cabaye too for that matter) and France do well, a lot of top European clubs are going to be alerted to the french talent currently sitting in the United squad.

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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61 Responses

  1. It will be interesting to see how he copes mentally tonight. Remember when he came back from injury & started playing again – at first he was trying to do too much rather than play as a team because he wanted to be playing so bad. I hope it goes well for him because if he can step up at this level it will improve his game for us. Is there a worry someone will buy him? Off course but if he does well it will drive up the price.

  2. I agree Sammy J – not sure it’s a good thing that he’s nervous going into this…..he played better towards the end of the season when he was confident and relaxed.

  3. “Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is expected to line up for Iceland as well as Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson, Johann Gudmundsson of AZ Alkmaar and Ajax’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.”

    They’re all somebody’s son.

  4. workyticket says: “They’re all somebody’s son.”

    Aren’t we all Worky?

  5. I see you guys have bought the (NUFC Pardew) line about HBA, you all have i can see, insights into HBA’s state of mind and physical fitness.
    Even though none of you has come closer than seeing him play.
    How do you do that ?

  6. Ireland won last night,Against a good Bosnia/ Herzegovina side.
    Scotland got hammered by the US 5-1,
    Engerland had a rousing win against the Norwigians, well actually they scraped by, with Norway the statistically better side.
    Ah well whats new ?

  7. Worky @ 3

    I nearly ran out of S’s typing that lot in LOL!

    Chuck @ 6

    Glad you agree that the Republic are still the best team in the British Isles :)

  8. UTD111

    Errmm! did i actually say that ?
    Well actually i’m surprised at how well the Irish do, considering association football is for the most part, second to the far older GAA games of football and hurling, and possibly Rugby.
    Not only that but the Island manages to field two international sides.
    With players opting for either side, bit crazy if you ask me.
    An amalgamation of the countries two seperate leagues and one national side is the logical answer.
    But as far as the statelet of Norn Iron is concerned, we cannot expect logic to be the answer.

  9. The rugby team is a United Ireland one Chuck – so that’s a step forward!

    Mind, they play both anthems before a game

  10. Ermm! I believe in order not to offend anyone, they play “Irelands Call”
    Which could just as easily be adapted to football.

  11. From Wiki:

    The Irish rugby union team is one of a few national sporting teams on the island that draws widespread support in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, and from both nationalist and unionist communities. As Ireland represents players from different sovereign territories, there has been controversy over the flags and anthems. When Irish internationals were played alternately in Belfast and Dublin, the British national anthem was played for matches in Belfast and the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland “Amhrán na bhFiann” was played for matches in Dublin. No anthem was played at away games.
    Since April 1995, a specially composed anthem, “Ireland’s Call” has been used by the Irish team in away games.[23] This has prompted some players and supporters from the Republic to complain that “Amhrán na bhFiann” should be played.[24] At games played in Dublin “Ireland’s Call” is always used alongside “Amhrán na bhFiann”.[25] This use of “Amhrán na bhFiann” has caused similar complaints from players and supporters from Northern Ireland.[citation needed] With Ireland’s friendly game against Italy in the run up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup scheduled to be held in Belfast, there were calls for “God Save the Queen” to be used alongside “Ireland’s Call” but this was turned down by the IRFU[26] with the explanation given that it was not a ‘home’ match because the team would be playing “outside Ireland”.[27]

  12. There;s something i just dont get concerning football in the Uk and Ireland.
    It appears the quality has deteriorated over the years.
    Yes i have heard the argument, kids no longer kick balls around the streets or local parks, due to the influences of both tv and computer use.

    But take the situation in Scotland, which once developed some of the best sides and individual players seen in the UK and who’s annual game against the ould enemy, was somehing to look forward to.
    With the present side an embarrasment (5-1 loss to the US, yesterday) will we ever see another good Scotland side ?

    Whereas the Irish have improved quite a bit and are no pushovers for any side, as Thiere Henry can concur (cheat)
    Though realistically there’s no great expectations for them, they did well enough to qualify and appear to be in a very tough group.

    Wales ? what can one say, with great individual players in the likes of Bale and Giggs, they just never had quality in depth over the years, ah well!

    Engerland, there was a time i recall, when every englishman believed that they invented the game (while ignoring the scots claim to be the ones) and we know how to play it, while hoofing the ball into the box.
    Bringing Andy Carroll into the side, gives me Deja vu all over again.
    People come people go, nothing ever changes.

  13. Lunch time, in an uncomfortable city, with the temperature hovering in the eighties and almost ninety percent humidity, uncomfortable, air conditioning time.
    later.

  14. Chuck, actually, England never really did as well as you seem to think. They didn’t enter the first three world cups, where they might have had a chance of winning because they saw them as irrelevant. From the time they did enter in 1950 they either went out at the group stages or the quarter finals until 1966 and apart from that, the best was the semi finals more recently in 1990.

    The Scots didn’t enter the first three world cups either, but they have never had enough great players at the same time to get anywhere and if they qualify at all, they usually have been knocked out almost immediately.

    It’s much the same with the Euro finals as well. The best England have ever managed was third and Scotland have never got anywhere.

    When Ireland were constantly prating and spitting their dummies out about that hand ball against France, they always convenveniently forgot to mention what happened just before when Shay Given blatantly tripped Nicolas Anelka. France should have got a penalty and Given should have been sent off for that. Henry’s handball was very much poetic justice for Given’s cheating and I didn’t blame him at all. Given’s whinging about the latter handball was rank hypocrisy and I don’t know how he had the nerve. He may have been a decent Newcastle United goalkeeper, but he’s always been a bit of a self righteous prick too.

    They also kept very, very quiet when the boot was on the other foot and Simon Cox got Armenia’s goalkeeper was sent off after handling controlling the ball with his arm to get into the current Euros

    “Spanish referee Eduardo Gonzalez dismissed Berezovsky after he blocked Simon Cox’s lob two yards outside the penalty area with his bicep, yet Gonzalez crucially failed to spot Cox controlling the ball in the first instance with his right arm.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/republic-of-ireland/8821001/Republic-of-Ireland-2-Armenia-1-match-report.html

    The Armenians didn’t spit their dummies out about it like the Irish did about Henry though. ;-)

  15. WORKEY
    Scuse me, you are talking to someone who watched the Ireland vs France game and have absolutely no recollection of any foul on Anelka and if one was’nt given (pun intended) it did’nt happen however much you personally insist.
    But for everyone who either watched the game or saw the replay’s, there was no doubt that Henry had handled, how many recall your so called Given foul, not given, doubt anyone but yourself.
    You seem to have a problem with Given, what’s that about, one of the best goalies we ever had.

  16. As for the Armenia game, you may be directing your wrath in the wrong direction, perhaps you should blame uefa and fifa for failing to introduce the technology that would prevent these situations arising in the first place.
    And the difference between both situations is enormous, one a deliberate handball, resulting in a goal, that the whole world remembers as opposed to a another handball by the goalie outside his area, that although the goalie was sent off,(and rightly so) did’nt result in a goal.
    Plus the fact Ireland were leading and would more than
    likely have won in any case.
    Dunno workey, seem a bit biased to me when it comes to wor Seamus and his national side.

  17. Pratting and spitting out their dummies, you say.
    I say legitimately protesting, along with the fact Henry did admitt to the foul, even apologised.
    Not familiar with pratting, is that where the term pratt comes from.
    And oh ! we have a more politically correct term for what you call a dummy tit here, it’s called a pacifier.

  18. chuck says:
    May 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    “WORKEY
    Scuse me, you are talking to someone who watched the Ireland vs France game and have absolutely no recollection of any foul on Anelka and if one was’nt given (pun intended) it did’nt happen however much you personally insist.
    But for everyone who either watched the game or saw the replay’s, there was no doubt that Henry had handled, how many recall your so called Given foul, not given, doubt anyone but yourself.”

    You obviously didn’t watch it very closely Chuck, either that or you were watching it very much through green white and orange spectacles. Watch it from about 4.40 on the video highlights below. ;-)

    http://www.footytube.com/video/france-ireland-republic-nov18-27614

  19. Texicans, regardless of the truth involved, love to mention in cetain circumstances, “remember the Alamo”
    We Americans have to find our own chant for games played against Engerland.
    How bout “remember 1950” or simply “1950”!
    of course the Hungarians could come up with, “1953”, funny that just as NUFC were doing good, two of Englands worst football catastrophies took place
    Oh yeah, you forgot to mention the reason the two UK sides were not involved in the World Cups prior to 1950.
    Politics, power and control.

  20. irishtoon says:
    May 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    “How did ben arfa do tonight?”

    Quite well really, though perhaps their best player on the night was Cabaye’s mate, the “bionic man,” the one we’ve been linked with recently.

    Debuchy! That’s the one!

    I’d give Benny six or seven out of ten and Debuchy seven or eight. It was a friendly though, and France didn’t get their arses in gear until towards the end of the game and could have lost it against all the “sons” of Iceland. It WAS a friendly where they were all experimenting though. Patrice Evra absolutely hummed.

  21. Workey
    Watched it and convinced yours has to be a case of extreme bias, if you want a penalty for that.
    Anelka clearly sensed the possibility of a penalty, resulting in his dragging his leg in an attempt to make contact.
    But the ref was’nt buying it and if you notice, there was no real appeal by Anelka or protest following the refs decision.
    No wonder i had no memory of the incident.
    C’mon workey, surely yo can come up with somthing better.
    Have to say the Irish side shouldda had at least four or more goals, during that short period i watched.
    They should play that tape as part of a pro “introduction of technology” campaign.

  22. Yeah watched the game here,Iceland vs France.
    Cabaye and Ben Harfa as he was dubbed on screen, had decent games, but as Workey mentioned Debuchy was pretty solid and has no hesitation in coming forward.
    I do hope we bid for this guy as i was very impressed, can you imagine NUFC with most of the right side players of the French national side, wow !
    On the other hand the Icelander Sigurdsson, seemed a handy player also.
    Still want Hoilett though.

  23. I thought Cabaye didn’t really shine this evening. He had too much on his plate, got a bit bogged down in the middle and was eventually pulled off by Blanc. He wasn’t bad though, it was Evra and that Mexes who had really poor games.

  24. It was’nt the best game i’ve seen in a while, though it gave me an oppotunity to see what could be a whole right side of the French national team, playing on the right side of NUFC.
    What i’m saying is Debuchy is quite a player, much like Cabaye.
    We should if this club wants to go anywhere, sign this guy, how much could it cost?
    We as a club, should be looking only at a certain level of player, no more mediocrities.
    Look i hate the expression, but he ticks all the boxes.
    You know if we put the right players to-gether this coming season, those we have and those equally as good as Debuchy we may once again surprise the hell out of a lotta people.
    With sucess comes notoriety and interest, not to forget money, and with the right signings we could do well in the approaching sason.
    Top 4 ?
    You mean pushing MAN.U and Citeh, plus Chelsea and Arsenal out, hmmm !
    Perhaps Pardew knows that 5th. was excellent for this season and a tough one to repeat, in fact he’s probably thinking, how the f**k am i going to repeat.
    If we can hold on (just for one season) to our best players and bring in some top quality reinforcements, keep Ba, Tiote Cabaye, etc.
    Hell we could surprise everyone, The New Entertainers, how does that sound?
    If we go nowhere then you can sell the team off, but at least we took a shot at the big time, hell apart from a crap cup, it’s 50 years since we won out.

  25. chuck man,

    sometimes it’s you that’s wrong marra, not everybody else, it’s ok mate, it happens to the best of us. Even worky is wrong about that pen shout, you’re correct on that one.
    ;)

    Nationalism, jingoism & the like are definitely wrong though!

  26. chuck,

    even HBA has ‘bought into’ me & AP’s drivel:

    “I am really eager to prove myself,” “I have earned myself a certain reputation. It was very, very difficult to return. There is only me and those around me who know how difficult it was.”

    “When I was being treated at Clairefontaine I had the objective to regain my international spot. I’m happy, it’s already huge.” …HBA!

    Oh!
    & his international coach thus:

    “I believe that he has reached a new level, both as a player and as a person at Newcastle.” ”He is more mature, he is conscious of his talent but that he has to transfer it in to benefiting his team and not just for himself.” …Lauren Blanc!

    It’s what you do with it?

    ;)

  27. Clinton

    Yeah i realise i can be wrong!
    There was this time when i thought i had been wrong but later found out in fact i was right.

    And to be called a jingoist, by someone from Colonel Blimpland, the very people who invented the term and still unknowingly spout jigoisms on a daily basis, thats rich.

    What are you on about in regard to HBA ?
    He’s back to form, through his own effort, following a long hard recouperation period at Clairefontaine.
    He was always a good footballer, by the way.
    And I agree with everything Lauren Blanc, mentioned.
    But unlike yourself, not deluded enough to believe all credit should go to the Silver Supremo.

  28. chuck,
    you’ll get no nationalism or jingoism from me mate, i’m an internationalist. So direct that to those who warrant it mate. I’m from Geordieland mate, not ingerl’nd!

    AP shouldn’t get all the credit either, maybe a little though.
    But as per, you’ve swerved anything that you don’t like the look/sound of…

    …at least you’re consistent like.

    :)

  29. colonel blimp is before my time mate.

    But it’s interesting that you ‘lump’ me in with an archaic national stereotype then go on to tacitly ‘have a go’ along national lines.

    The old switcheroo, huh?

    ;)

  30. Anyone aware of why England refused to be a part of the original World Cup and stayed out until 1950.
    For not being willing to play against countries they had been to war against and foreign influences.
    Jingoism anyone ?

  31. And oh! guess who came in third in the 1950 tournament ?
    You got it, that same side made up of parttimer Yanks.
    Who’dda thunk it ?

  32. Chuck, you found out you were right in that you can be wrong? Or you thought you were wrong and you were in fact actually wrong? Confusing, man. Anyway, I think you are right that you are right even when you thought you were wrong when really you were right.

  33. Clinton

    Colonel Blimp and Jingoism, are one and the same.

    We dont want to fight, but “By Jingo” if we do,
    We have the ships we have the guns,
    We have the money too.
    Yes we know he was a made up character, invented by a New Zelander i believe and a socialist.
    For the most part, a parody on Britains out of date military establshment.
    Centering on the example of Colonel Blimp, who advocated the wearing of spurs by cavalrymen inside the tanks, that had recently repaced horses.

  34. chuck,

    the fa in it’s infinite wisdom (sic) decided they didn’t need to prove themselves the best in the world in a ‘tinpot’ series.
    :)

    So Jules Rimet named the cup instead (a Frenchman).

  35. Chuck says:
    May 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    “And to be called a jingoist, by someone from Colonel Blimpland, the very people who invented the term and still unknowingly spout jigoisms on a daily basis, thats rich.”

    Perhaps he should have referred to you as an old bigot instead after that unintentionally humourous jibe, Chuck?

    At the risk of raising another rather hoary old stereotype, perhaps you really don’t get irony on that side of the pond after all? ;-)

  36. worky,
    ;)

    chuck,
    if you check back through these blogs, you’ll find that i’ve always had a good word for USA football & the national team in general.
    They had some great world cup’s in recent times & deservedly so.

    ;)

  37. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    May 28, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    “if you check back through these blogs, you’ll find that i’ve always had a good word for USA football & the national team in general.
    They had some great world cup’s in recent times & deservedly so.”

    They’re as shite at penalties as we are though, Clint.

  38. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    May 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    “Somehow she still broke the goal though!”

    At least she didn’t break a satellite like Chris Waddle did in 1990, Clint.

  39. http://www.101greatgoals.com/gvideos/france-3-iceland-2-goals/

    Unfortunately France only began playing in the 2nd half after HBA got subbed and just after Debuchy scored. If we assume HBA makes it to the final squad it’s difficult to know where he would fit in Blanc’s first choice 11 ?

    France have only three recognised forwards yet currently have loads of midfielders all looking to get into that final 23.

    So if Benzema plays as the main striker, Ribery will have to play also so the only place up for grabs is Malouda’s – who has almost been an ever present in Blanc’s team in the qualifying rounds. However Blanc always plays Ribery on the right whereas he’s played on the left for Bayern. So maybe HBA, Ribery and Benzema could provide Blanc with the attacking option he needs to take on England and the rest of the Group ?

    Having said all of the above I dunno if I want HBA to have a good Euro 2012 ? :)

  40. Jeez he’s only just announced he’s signing for Chelsea and already the bitter Mancs are slagging off Hazard on Twitter !

    “Darren Wells ‏@DazzaWells

    @hazardeden10 congratulations on becoming a Chelshit rent boy! See you at Old Trafford when we beat you rent boys AGAIN next season”

    Lets hope they have to re-sign EMO for another season when they find they cant attract any top players :)

  41. For some of the folks who contribute to this column.
    I would like to know.
    Exactly how many feel i’m an old bigot ?

  42. chuck says:
    May 29, 2012 at 2:57 am

    “Exactly how many feel i’m an old bigot ?”

    Well, if you keep telling Clint, or anyone from the UK that we can’t express opinions because we’re all jingoists from “Colonel Blimpland,” you may well be mistaken for an old bigot who’s completely lacking in any sense of irony. ;-)

  43. chuck,

    you’re not an old bigot mate.

    Our views differ occasionally is all.

    Not a problem for me, so long as we can all take what we give!

    All Toon fans & that’s what really counts!

    ;)

  44. Chuck: I don’t consider you a bigot. Obstinate, yes.

    I haven’t posted that much until recently, but I read the blog most days and see what you say.

  45. CLiNT FLiCK says:

    “chuck,

    you’re not an old bigot mate.

    Our views differ occasionally is all.

    Not a problem for me, so long as we can all take what we give!”

    Agreed. Our opinions will often differ but if you take some of what others say and meld it with what you believe you’ll end up a basket case :lol:

  46. AndyMac says:

    “So maybe HBA, Ribery and Benzema could provide Blanc with the attacking option he needs to take on England and the rest of the Group ?”

    Now HBA’s made it through to the squad this would be the dream ticket if Blanc had the cojones to implement it.

  47. Hell i dont mind being called a bigot, it’s the added “old” that annoys me, hell just a young septuagenarian.