November 14, 2012
Italy v France: Preview
France striker Bafetimbi Gomis has subscribed to head coach Didier Deschamps' vision of a brighter future for Les Bleus and is all set to fight for the cause in Italy tomorrow night.
The Lyon forward, 27, is a possible starter in tomorrow's friendly meeting with the European Championship runners-up, given the withdrawal of Real Madrid hitman Karim Benzema through injury.
Les Bleus have not tasted victory on Italian soil since 1994, and Gomis believes banishing that hoodoo in Parma would go some way to proving how far France have come since Deschamps replaced Laurent Blanc in July.
Last month's hard-fought World Cup qualifying 1-1 draw in Spain demonstrated a step up in both discipline and footballing prowess after another disappointing and fractious summer tournament for the former world champions.
Gomis told fff.fr: "Every time that I'm called up, I come ready to give my all to the squad, whether Karim is here or not.
"Karim is a key asset and the spearhead of our attack because of his quality and for everything he has done for his club.
"We are lucky to have such a high quality group of strikers available to help the France team.
"When you're called up, you give your all for your country, regardless of the supposed hierarchy.
"Whenever I make the starting line-up I get very emotional, especially during the Marseillaise.''
Blanc's reign came to a premature end as France imploded at the European Championship. Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila may have been suspended from international duty for two years following a late-night excursion before an Under-21 game, but Gomis believes Deschamps' strict behavioural policy is starting to make a positive impression on the squad.
"Les Bleus have a new mindset now,'' he added. "We all aspire to enjoy happier times, especially if we manage to get to Brazil.
"I was not selected for the Euros and I watched a very dissatisfied France side while I was on holiday.
"France have always had certain values and the coach has asked us to focus on them since he arrived, on emphasising the public image that we should have.
"I now have a list of rules for life, and for wearing the blue shirt, hanging on the back of my door.
"France is a great footballing nation and we should not be alienating our public.''
Deschamps must choose between Benoit Tremoulinas and Anthony Reveillere at left-back after Gael Clichy and Christophe Jallet suffered injuries.
Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcuff is back in the squad, but he is unlikely to dislodge Etienne Capoue from his role behind Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi.
Gomis will vie with Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud for Benzema's place at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.
Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli is also sticking to a strict code of conduct, refusing to use Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi in tomorrow's game due to his violent conduct in Sunday's Rome derby.
De Rossi was sent off for punching Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and Prandelli did not hesitate to call up Giallorossi midfielder Alessandro Florenzi in his place.
Of his first-ever selection for the Azzurri, the 21-year-old told figc.it: "I have made a lot of sacrifices in my life and I've always believed that if you work hard, good things will happen to you.''
Newcastle full-back Davide Santon, who has returned to the national set-up after an 18-month absence, said: "I'm really happy to see all my old friends.
"My experience with the Azzurri was great but then I went through a bad period. But I recovered and started a new life in England.''
Prandelli could experiment with a new attacking trident comprising Mario Balotelli, Antonio Candreva and in-form AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy.
Atalanta's Federico Peluso should take over from the injured Domenico Criscito at left-back, while Emanuele Giaccherini partners Riccardo Montolivo in midfield.