FIFA World Cup Special : Team talk – Pogba, Kante, Giroud hold the key to France’s title challenge

Antoine Griezmann is going to be France's main man in the World Cup.

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We commence our “Team Talks” for Group C of the FIFA World Cup 2018, with former champions France.

Team : FRANCE

Coach: Didier Deschamps
Captain: Hugo Lloris
Nickname(s): Les Bleus
Last Qualified in: 2014
Result in 2014: Eliminated in the Quarter Finals (7th overall)
Qualified as: UEFA Group A Winners (10 October 2017)
Previous World Cup Appearances: (14 Times) 1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Best World Cup Finals Result: Champions in 1998.

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Final Squad:

Alphonse Areola, Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N’Zonzi, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso, Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe, Florian Thauvin.

Key Players:

1) Hugo Lloris:

The Tottenham Hotspur custodian is one of the best in the world under the bar, and is undoubtedly one of the greatest to don the Les Bleus. The French captain is his country’s 9th highest capped player and is likely to earn his 100th cap in the round of 16 match. The 31-year-old’s form at the back will be crucial in the French challenge for world supremacy.

2) Rafael Varane: 

The Real Madrid defender will be given additional responsibility to lead a relatively inexperienced French back-line in the absence of Laurent Koscielny. The 25-year old has won 4 UEFA Champions League medals and will surely look to recreate his club form for his country in a few days time.

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3) N’Golo Kante:

The 27-year old is considered by many to be the best defensive midfielder in world football. The 2-times Premier League winner with Leicester City and Chelsea FC will be mightily vital for the 1998 World Cup champions.

4) Paul Pogba: 

The Manchester United midfielder is not the most popular player, but there’s no doubt that he is surely one of the bests in the world. Russia 2018 might be the most appropriate stage for him to show all his class and win the cup back for the French.

5) Olivier Giroud:

The Chelsea forward is often criticized for not being exceptional. The stats however speak differently for the former Arsenal man. The 31-year old is France’s 4th all time top scorer with 31 goals in 72 appearances, worse only to Thiery Henry, Michel Platini and David Trezeguet. He is likely to feature in very important times for Didier Deschamps’s side.

6) Antoine Griezmann:

Antoine Griezmann is France’s best player in the current era. The Atletico Madrid forward is considered one of the best players in the world currently and will surely look to recreate his club form for his country.

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Recent Form:

The French have won 10 out of their last 13 internationals, while losing twice and drawing once. They won their last two internationals against Republic of Ireland and Italy.

Group matches:

France have been drawn in Group C alongside Australia, Peru and Denmark. They will play Australia in their opening match on 16th of June, followed by Peru and Denmark on 21st and 26th June respectively.

Prediction:

Drawn in a relatively easy group with Australia, Peru and Denmark, France shouldn’t face any difficulty given how great a team they are (but then they were in 2002 as well!). A second round possible meeting with either of Croatia or Nigeria will be followed by a potential quarter final clash with either Uruguay or Portugal. Given their squad depth and reasonably easy route, France are favourites to reach at least the semi finals, and also to probably go all the way.

Trivia:

French forward Lucien Laurent was the first ever to score a world cup goal when he scored against Mexico in the 1930 Group 1 opening match. In 1982 World Cup Frenchman Alain Giresse became the first to score a penalty in a shootout while his teammate Jean-Luc Ettori became the first ever to save one in the same.

 

How far do you think France will progress this year? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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