France Word Cup Preview

Having come agonisingly close at Euro 2016 in their home nation, being edged in the final by Ronaldo's Portugal, France will be looking to make a big impact in this year's World Cup, potentially adding to their solitary victory in 1998.

In the run up to this competition, France have been flying in their international endeavours. In the qualifying stages, Les Bleus topped their table comfortably, finishing their campaign with seven wins, two draws and a loss. Not to mention the multitude of friendlies played, most of which were won. This will certainly provide the team a strong platform to build from, and bundles of confidence going into the World Cup. 
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Fully announced French squad. (Image from kemifilani.com)

France are giants of the global stage, a team with real vibrance, youth, power and strength in depth across all playing positions. The thing that's particularly striking about this squad is the youthfulness and potential of the team on the whole, with 17 of the 23 players being in their 20s, and one player still a teenager (Mbappé). There's solidarity at the back with the likes of Varane, Umtiti and the captain Lloris between the sticks. A stellar and rugged midfield in the form of Kanté, Pogba and Matuidi, who will look to boss things in the centre of the park. And who can forget the electric attacking options France have, in Griezmann, Mbappé, Lemar and Dembelé.  Deadly, deadly side.

KEY PLAYERS:
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Antoine Griezmann, won the Europa League with Atletico last season.
(Image courtesy of Telegraph)  

  • Antoine Griezmann: A world class striker with pace, fantastic shooting capability, and all round great game play. His charismatic style of play and celebrations also add character to the side. For Atletico Madrid last season, he bagged a tasty 29 goals and 15 assists in all comps, and played a vital role in helping Atleti lift the Europa League. 
  • Hugo Lloris: Captain cool. The leader and backbone to the team's defence. Lloris is a calm and dependable goalkeeper, with qualities such as distribution, agility, and shot-stopping all to his name. For Spurs he has kept 16 clean sheets in all comps, with a save percentage of 69.8. 
  •  Samuel Umtiti: A young talent with a lot of promise. Representing Barcelona in La Liga this season, he has been a rock in defence. 33 tackles, with a success rate of 51%, 37 interceptions, 15 blocks and 61 clearances, those stats can only work in his favour. 
  • Paul Pogba: Dynamism personified. Known for his creative and free flowing style of box to box football, and also his dabs and handshakes, he has performed well for Man United this past season. With 6 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League, Pogba has been influential and a real cog in the works of United.
  • N'Golo Kanté: A real hard worker and committed player. The sheer amount of ground he covers per game is just astonishing, his fitness and determination levels are too good. He's made 113 tackles with a  68% success rate, 14 blocks, 26 clearances and 85 interceptions in the Premier League last season. He will definitely make it difficult for any opposition player to get past him or find themselves in any room in midfield, in this competition. 
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Anthony Martial is left out of the France Squad.
(Image courtesy of Daily Mail


Notable omissions from the squad include the Premier League's Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette, which came as a shock to many. The former has had a decent season with the Red Devils, scoring 11 goals and giving nine assists in all comps, which is not bad given his game time and position as a winger. Similarly, Lacazette has scored 17 goals and provided five assists in all comps for Arsenal. Despite their attempts, they were still overlooked by Deschamps and won't be boarding the flight to Russia, which is a real shame, for players of their quality.

France will be going into Group C with Australia, Denmark and Peru, and should be looking to top the group comfortably and progress to the latter stages of the competition. Before all that, there's still a final friendly to be played, against the USA on June 9th, which will be one last chance for them to really polish themselves and prepare.

FINAL PREDICTION:
Semi finals. Though the squad is brilliant and have the capability to run riot and maybe even win the World Cup, I can't help but see France bottling it in the latter stages and so I feel their form will take them through to the semi finals.

All in all, this French side will be one to watch in this World Cup.

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