The French Football Factory

FFF


Looking forward to the 2018 Russia World Cup? As football fans there is something special about the biggest international tournament. One country who will be excited going into the competition will be the France. The squad they could put together is exceptional. After the disappointment the group of players had losing out in the final of the European Championships on their own turf the motivation to claim glory at the next opportunity will be vast. With the wealth of talent at their disposal some great players will miss out. Here is who to expect in the squad if the players can stay fit in the lead up to the World Cup.


Goalkeepers

 

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  • Hugo Lloris – Tottenham Hotspur – 30
  • Alphonse Areola – PSG – 24
  • Benoit Costil – Bordeaux – 30

Goalkeepers are a strong area for France. Lloris will be number one for the tournament assuming he does not pick up an injury. He is the captain of the national side and an ever present for some time. Areola is a great prospect and is getting more game time at PSG which will make him the heir to Lloris when he calls time on his international career. Costil will provide back up and a more experienced alternative to Lloris.

Alternative options;

Stephane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Benjamin Lecomte (Montpellier), Yoan Cardinale (Nice)


Full Backs

 

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  • Djibril Sidibe – Monaco – 25
  • Christophe Jallet – Nice – 33
  • Layvin Kurzawa – PSG – 25
  • Benjamin Mendy – Manchester City – 23

Sidibe’s place at right back looks safe having established himself as Didier Deschamps first choice during qualification. He will have veteran defender Jallet as back up. Left back is a total toss up. Both players have featured in qualification and both are getting game time at their clubs. It will come down to who performs better throughout this season, it could be either Kurzawa or Mendy who start.

Alternative options;

Sebastien Corchia (Sevilla), Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Free Agent), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), Benoit Tremoulinas (Free Agent), Theo Hernandez (Real Madrid) 


Central Defence

 

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  • Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal – 32
  • Raphael Varane – Real Madrid – 24
  • Samuel Umtiti – Barcelona – 23
  • Aymeric Laporte – Athletic Bilbao – 23

There is a nice balance to the four first choice central defenders for France. Umtiti and Laporte are left footed and Koscielny and Varance are right footed. If Deschamps is concerned with balance he will be delighted that this is the case. Laporte has not featured for the senior France team to date but another good season could see him push into the squad. The other three picks are nailed on selections.

Alternative options;

Loic Perrin (Saint-Etienne), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace), Adil Rami (Marseille), Jeremy Mathieu (Sporting Lisbon), Romain Thomas (Angers), Kurt Zouma (Stoke City), Florian Lejeune (Newcastle), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG)


Central Midfield

 

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  • Paul Pogba – Manchester United – 24
  • N’Golo Kante – Chelsea – 26
  • Blaise Matuidi – Juventus – 30
  • Corentin Tolisso – Bayern Muncih – 23
  • Adrien Rabiot – PSG – 22

One of the strongest areas for the French. A nice mix of players in different stages of their careers; Matuidi is experienced and has 58 caps for his country, Pogba and Kante are in a position where you expect some of their best football as well as having good experience at club and international level. Then you have Tolisso and Rabiot who are just breaking through into the national side. With the variety of player and quality they posses in the middle of the park they can be confident that whoever they select will do a fantastic job.

Alternative options;

Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla), Morgan Schneiderlin (Everton), Tiemoue Bakayoko (Chelsea), Morgan Sanson (Marseille), Maxime Gonalons (Roma), Joshua Guilavogui (Wolfsburg), Yoann Gourcuff (Stade Rennais), Jeremy Toulalan (Bordeaux), Francis Coquelin (Arsenal), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Wylan Cyprien (Nice), Valentin Rongier (Nantes), Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Vincent Koziello (Nice), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Inter), Rio Mavuba (Sparta Prague)


Winger

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  • Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona – 20
  • Thomas Lemar – Monaco – 21
  • Kingsley Coman – Bayern Munich – 21
  • Anthony Martial – Manchester United – 21

If the France squad is well balanced in experience and youth in other departments the wide positions stray from that pattern. Raw, pacey and creative players in the early stages of their career could be given a platform to steal the show in Russia. Dembele will be full of confidence after his mega move to Barcelona and a season there could evolve the young wingers game. Lemar stayed at Monaco over the summer and is vital to their campaign. Coman and Martial are both direct runners who commit their defender and more often than not skip past them. Any of there four youngsters could become the next big thing in European football if they perform at the World Cup.

Alternative options;

Florian Thauvin (Marseille), Romain Hamouma (Saint-Etienne), Romain Alessandrini (LA Galaxy), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Jonathan Biabiany (Sparta Prague), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Hatem Ben Arfa (PSG), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Mathieu Valbuena (Fenerbahce), Paul-Georges Ntep (Wolfsburg), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Tottenham)


Strikers

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  • Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid – 26
  • Olivier Giroud – Arsenal – 30
  • Kylian Mbappe Lottin – PSG – 18

The front line offers great variety. Griezmann is a great goal scorer who has developed his game so much since arriving at Atletico. He has transformed from a goalscoring winger into a clinical central striker. Giroud is a favourite of Deschamps. Big and strong he offers a different option. With the quality around him his ability to win headers could set up chances for his team mates. Mbappe has the world at his feet and is a dynamic young striker. Many big names missed out in this department.

Alternative options;

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Kevin Gameiro (Atletico Madrid), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres UANL), Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla), Valere Germain (Marseille), Bafetimbi Gomis (Galatasaray), Alassane Plea (Nice), Loic Remy (Las Palmas), Jeremy Menez (Antalyaspor), Nicolas De Preville (Bordeaux), Gregoire Defrel (Roma), Moussa Dembele (Celtic)


Conclusion

It is clear to see why France are major favourites for the competition. The variety and amount of options are unparalleled. The mix of experience, youth and players in their prime shows just how much talent has been developed over the last couple of decades. With genuine world stars and wonderkids at their disposal performances for clubs will have to be closely monitored. The players will have to excel and remain consistent in every department to claim their place in Russia. It must be a nice feeling for the selection comity to have too many options rather than not enough.


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