So how has Nasri gone from zero to hero in the space of 12 months? Deschamps: “I knew before tonight that Samir Nasri is a very, very good player. He confirmed that tonight.” Nasri could become a key player. Jerome Pugmire (@jeromepugmire) October 11, 2013 Firstly, his Manchester City form has been steadily improving since he managed to arrest an alarming slide in the wake of the Euro 2012 controversy. As reported by TF1 ( h/t ESPN FC ), Nasri was banned from three international matches after arguing with journalists at Euro 2012. Following a strong finish to last season despite his struggles under Roberto Mancini, the arrival of new coach Manuel Pellegrini has reinvigorated the Frenchman. The Chilean even told The Telegraph recently how impressed he has been by a resurgent Nasri, particularly following his key role in the 4-1 demolition of biter rivals Manchester United. So far this season he has two goals and two assists in seven appearances to his name ( stats via premierleague.com ), and he appears well placed to add to that over the course of the campaign. Michael Regan/Getty Images Following Fridays win over Australia, Nasris impressive early-season form is also translating onto the international stage with France now. The former Olympique de Marseille man looked hungry, motivated and full of purpose in the French capital. Despite it only being a friendly, his impressive showing, which included providing an assist for Olivier Girouds second goal, looks like it will ensure that he starts Tuesdays clash with Finland. Deschamps has looked undecided on his strongest XI for Les Bleus since he took the job, but Nasris impressive form will make it difficult to drop him heading into the World Cup qualification playoffs.
If we dont give him the chance to show what he promises, it would be a shame. Some might call it overblown to give a county by-election national importance particularly given the abstention rate of 67 per cent. But this has been no ordinary week in French politics. On Thursday, a poll suggested that the FN would top European Parliament elections next May, pulling ahead of the two mainstream parties for the first time in a nationwide vote. Some 24 per cent of French polled said they would back the anti-immigration party, compared with 22 per cent for the UMP and 19 per cent for the governing Socialist Party. The FN won an identical score in a poll on voting intentions for municipal elections, while a third placed Marine Le Pen, the FNs charismatic leader, in joint third place in a table of politicians the French want to see more of in the future. The French are showing a wish to take their destiny into their hands and give back their country its sovereignty, said Steeve Briois, FN secretary general, who described the European election poll as an unprecedented earthquake.Should the FN win today, they will point to that as the first tremors of that earthquake. Mr Lopez has been cast as a foot soldier in an army of grassroots politicians the FN is training up to win posts in councils or become mayors and MPs. The party has set it sights on taking 50 town halls in March. This new breed of candidate, a far cry from the racist, anti-Semitic FN figures of old, is wooing new sections of French society, even disgruntled Socialists. It may surprise you, but I have more in common with Left-wing figure Jean Jaures, who was truly concerned about human misery, fishing eight-year olds out of the mines and dying women from factories, than todays Left, he said. When pushed, however, he reverted to the more classic FN rhetoric of: France, either love it or leave it. Although he claims to be a simple local politician, Mr Lopez is in fact on the FN payroll, hand-picked for the job after a career working alongside Mr Le Pen on the Provence regional council. Sensing Brignoles could take on national significance, the party ousted former representative Jean-Paul Dispard, whose eviction ended up in a fist fight. Mr Dispard ran last Sunday and won more than nine per cent of the vote, taking the overall far-Right score past 50 per cent. He is now calling on supporters to vote UMP.
France detains ‘top’ al Qaeda suspect
Naamen Meziche has also been linked with the terrorist cell that planned the 9/11 attacks. (text) France on Saturday place Naamen Meziche , the French national accused of links to al Qaeda , under formal investigation for “associating with wrongdoers with a view to committing terrorist acts” — a step short of pressing formal charges. Meziche was deported from Pakistan on Tuesday, and was arrested upon arrival on French soil. A Frenchman of Algerian origin who also holds an Algerian passport, Meziche was arrested in southwestern Pakistan in May 2012 along with three other suspected French jihadists, who were expelled to France separately in April. France’s jihadists French jihadists captured in Mali, defence minister says Those three other French nationals face similar charges under the same section of French law that gives authorities broad powers to detain and prosecute a suspect for intending to carry out terrorist acts or contacting organisations suspected of terrorism. At the time of his arrest, French intelligence sources described Meziche as an important al Qaeda leader linked to the so-called Hamburg cell that planned the 9/11 attacks. Pakistani sources said the Frenchman, aged around 43, had links to Younis al-Mauritani, a suspected al Qaeda chief who is believed to have been personally charged by Osama bin Laden to plan attacks in Europe and the US. Meziches deportation and arrest after more than 16 months in detention in Pakistan has sparked hopes that more details of the jihadist trail from Europe to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region will be revealed. Meziche is probably the terrorist who is most familiar with the recruitment channels used by al Qaeda to bring young jihadists to its training camps and thats why the French were so keen to get hold of him, Roland Jacquard, head of the Paris-based International Terrorism Observatory, told FRANCE 24. (FRANCE24 with wires)