Last night France took on Iceland and Hatem Ben Arfa looks to have rubber stamped his selection for the European Championships with an impressive display that shone in an otherwise poor opening hour for his team.
Having missed out in two previous tournaments in the very final squad selection, this time it looks nailed on that he will be included in the squad and on this form could even feature in the starting eleven.
Cabaye put in a solid performance and both were substituted with half an hour left as Blanc rotated his team. Iceland had taken a two goal lead with Ben Arfa helping to start the fightback as he initiated a move which led to supposed Newcastle target, right-back Mathieu Debuchy, pulling one back. Two further late goals giving France what had looked an unlikely victory.
The final French squad is due to be announced either today or tomorrow and Laurent Blanc’s special hug for Ben Arfa as he came off was as good as handing him a plane ticket to Poland/Ukraine.
In advance of the match, French football expert Andy Barsell had been talking about how back in France the supporters generally perceived Ben Arfa as a brat.
Speaking on Talksport, Barsell says though that now the belief back home across the channel is that; “Alan Pardew has really got Ben Arfa to knuckle down and he is a changed man”.
Tim Krul has already been named in the final squad and with established first choice Steklenburg fighting back from injury a route to the first team has opened up for Krul and the Netherlands’ other young keeper, Swansea’s Michel Vorm.
With a couple more warm up games to come, the form in those matches could well decide who is Steklenburg’s understudy and the possibility of starting against Denmark in their opening group game against Denmark.
Over in Marrakesh on Friday, Papiss Cisse captained Senegal to a one goal win over Morocco but Demba Ba didn’t feature in the squad. The friendly was a warm up match for world cup qualifiers in the coming weeks.