French international Karim Benzema has stated that the national team was not able to reach the semifinals of the World Cup 2014 because they did not start the quarter-finals in positive fashion. France were knocked out of the tournament after a 1-0 defeat against Germany. Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels scored the only goal of the match in the 12th minute from a corner. From then on, France had a couple of opportunities to equalise. Their failure to do so saw them exit the competition, but with head held high.
Up until the quarter-finals, France were seen as one of the best teams in the tournament after having come through this stage by scoring a lot of goals. Benzema was one of the leading goal scorer’s at the time of France’s exit. However, the ability to finish as the Golden Boot winner now passes to the likes of Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez, and Thomas Müller. Benzema has been in fine form for the national team, as he has been able to perform exceptionally well in the last 12 months.
He came into the World Cup after having just won the Copa del Rey and the Champions League with real Madrid. The exit of Gonzalo Higuain appears to have brought the best in Benzema, who is revelling in his role as a regular first-team player.
“We are disappointed that the adventure stops there. We gave everything, but we couldn’t score. The first period was quite difficult, we didn’t have enough attempts for my taste. We had more in the second half, they were endangered, but they have a very good goalkeeper. We can be proud of ourselves. Do not forget that this is one of the best teams in the world and not one of us had played in the quarter-finals of the World Cup,” said Benzema.
Steve Bruce has already begun the mind games for the FA Cup final by saying that all the pressure will be on Arsenal in order to win the match. Hull City reached the final of the FA Cup by beating Sheffield United 5-3 in the semifinals. They are now in an unlikely position of being able to win the competition, which is the oldest in the world. Only the challenge from Arsenal stands between them and the title, but it is a big one. Arsenal are one of the top clubs in England and they will be favourites for the trophy.
This is also the opinion of Bruce, who says that it will be up to Arsenal to overcome the resistance of Hull and also the pressure that will be put upon them. Arsene Wenger has to win this trophy in order to end the nine-year trophy wait for the club. The drought started after Arsenal won the FA Cup in 2005. Since that period, they have come close on a couple of occasions – most high profile being the 2006 Champions League final. May 17 will mark the FA Cup final day, but Bruce is already starting with the mind games.
Hull have been decent for this Premier league season and they will want to round it off with a trophy.
“I’m starting all the bulls*** now, aren’t I? How sad is that? Arsenal are a great club, with great history and tradition. They must have had 60,000 here yesterday. We’re up against it – but we’ll do our best. But if you had said ten years ago that Hull will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final, people would have been scratching their heads. It just shows you what can be done,” said Bruce, who has guided the team to 13th in the table.
Even though Moyes suffered a 2-1 loss when he and his team locked horns with Cardiff City some weeks ago and also only managing to get 1 point against the last team of the Premier League, the Scottish coach remains optimistic about his future with Manchester United.
“You just continue doing the right things. Keep going and your luck will change, there’s no doubt about that.”
“Everyone keeps telling me about the stats and the opportunities we had. We had plenty of chances to win the game. Football does that sometimes and we’ve got to try and make sure it doesn’t happen too often.
“There have been a few twists this season; hopefully we’ll get them our way in the future. You just continue doing the right things. Keep going and your luck will change, there’s no doubt about that’’. Moyes stated.
With Vidic, Ferdinand and Patrice Evra all leaving the club at the end of the season in the summer, things will get even tougher for Moyes as he has to replace all of these veteran defenders and they will have to search on the transfer market for players that can somehow fill in the gap left by the departing players.
If Moyes can somehow switch things around with Manchester United in the Champions League then most of the criticism and pressure he has been receiving in this season will disappear but considering all of the top tier clubs which are fighting in the Champions League, his chances on even getting into the semifinals of the European competition are slim.
It seems hard to believe that Manchester United can cope with the high profile teams that are in the Champions League if they aren’t able to secure a triumph against the relegation zone club Fulham.