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Stuart Dalgleish 10th Jun 2010 - 12:11

Uruguay can add to France’s woes

Raymond Domenech is unlikely to win any popularity contests in France at the minute.

The soon-to-be-departing French manager was in charge of the team that performed disastrously at Euro 2008 and then instead of talking about his team's poor performance chose to propose to his girlfriend instead.

He somehow kept hold of his job for the World Cup qualifying campaign where, in fairness, they weren't that bad in the group stage having only lost once in their 10 games but it was in the play-offs where they really showed their deficiencies.

They edged a 1-0 in Croke Park against the Republic of Ireland in the first leg then lost by the same scoreline in the Stade de France meaning extra-time, I'm sure the Irish fans won't need me to remind them what happened then but Monsieur Henry and co can count themselves very lucky to be in South Africa as they deserved nothing from the second leg of that play-off.

While the Irish have gone on and enjoyed some fine performances and also good wins against World Cup bound teams in their subsequent friendlies, Les Bleus have been nothing short of atrocious.

They were completely outplayed against tournament favourites Spain in March, stuttered to a 2-1 win over Costa Rica at the end of May, needed a William Gallas goal to rescue a draw against Tunisia four days later, then a week ago they suffered an embarrassing home defeat to China.

It's hardly the sort of form to take in to a World Cup.

Uruguay weren't really outstanding in their qualifying campaign, but they play nearly twice the amount of games that European teams do and also have to play two of the most successful teams in World Cup history in Brazil and Argentina.

Like the French, Oscar Tabarez's team needed the play-offs to book their place in the World Cup, the first ever winners beating Costa Rica 2-1 on aggregate to progress.

They've only played two friendlies since then but have won them both, seeing off Group H side Switzerland 3-1 in March then hammering Israel 4-1 at Montevideo a couple of weeks ago.

While they might not have played many warm-up matches, they certainly know each other's game, which is more than can be said of the French.

Normally employed as a left back; Eric Abidal (40/1 first goal, 16/1 anytime) has been playing recently alongside Gallas (25/1 first, 8/1 any) at centre back and the Barcelona man has admitted that they are yet to gel, while winger Florent Malouda (10/1 first, 7/2 any), who enjoyed a fantastic season for Chelsea, has admitted that there are "a lot of problems to fix".

If they can get organised then with Franck Ribery (15/2 first, 9/4 any) on the opposite side to Malouda and Yoann Gourcuff (10/1 first, 7/2 any) through the middle then surely they can be a threat, however if they're not all singing from the same hymn sheet then I wouldn't fancy France's chances this year.

Sadly for the French I'm just not sure Domenech will get them all playing together and I'd fancy Uruguay to nick this one.

La Celeste Olimpica (11/4) have lost just once in five previous clashes with France (11/10, the draw 21/10) so the draw no bet market looks tempting at 6/4 for Uruguay.

In Diego Forlan (11/2 first, 6/4 any) and Luis Suarez (7/1 first, 2/1 any) they have two of the most sought after strikers in Europe, Forlan might not have set the world alight for Manchester United but he's been sensational in his time in Spain while Suarez has hit goals galore for Ajax over the last couple of seasons and is reportedly attracting interest from some top Premier League teams.

If those two don't quite hit it off from the start they can call upon the vastly experienced Sebastian Abreu from the bench, 'El Loco' has had more clubs than Tiger Woods but he's always delivered wherever he's played, the striker could be worth investing in to bag the last goal at 9/1.

I'm not expecting a high-scoring affair here though, the odds suggest this also with Under 2.5 goals priced at 8/13, to be even braver though you could look at Under 1.5 which is available at 2/1.



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