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French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena gains spotlight

Posted July. 02, 2014 07:01,   


"It`s just boring."

A German reporter kept on yawning. He was looking at the chatting window instead of the football ground. He was watching the round of 16 World Cup match between France and Nigeria being held Tuesday at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia, Brazil. Over 60,000 spectators were expecting a goal feast since both teams tend to play attacking football.

Defying expectations, both teams were playing a boring game. Zero goal even as the game was nearing an end. One German reporter said that it is the most boring game for this World Cup. France won Nigeria 2-0 but some spectators left while in game.

One player yet stood out. French team midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, despite far smaller height than others, led French team`s attack by busily running through tall players. Dubbed "small bike," he ran 10.5 kilometers for this game alone, the longest run among other players in both teams.

Most of the French team`s shootings (15 times) and goals started from Valbuena. Paul Pogba scored French team`s first goal at 34 minutes in the latter half of the game, which was helped by Valbuena`s accurate cross. Valbuena succeeded 50 passes, the most among French players.

Pogba was MVP for the day, but many media said Valbuena played the most active role. Britain`s Daily Mail gives him highest score of 8 (out of 10), adding he ran enthusiastically and delivered the ball to fellow players. Valbuena was the most popular player at the mixed zone. While he was being interviewed, many players passed by telling him he did a great job and stoked his head.

Valbuena had a suffering time due to small height. At an 18-under team in Bordeaux, he was ousted because of small height and due to reason that he had no potential to become a professional player. He did not give up, however, continuing his life as football player playing in the five nationwide football divisions. He had run a sports item shop to make a living. He came into spotlight with outstanding dribble ability and fast breakthrough, and in 2006 entered the first division (Olympique de Marseille).

He was selected to play for French national football team, ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. His first ever World Cup was a disappointment. He was a substitute player for one game and the team failed to reach the round of 16. Four years from then at the Brazil World Cup, Valbuena became a must player for the French national team. In the first match with Switzerland, he made his debut goal. French team coach Didier Deschamps said that Valbuena is core of the French team and the team can win according to his play.