Reigning World Cup champions France defend their title when they face Australia in Group D at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah. Didier Deschamps believes he has come up with the perfect starting XI with which he will send Les Bleus to the tournament as they seek to avoid the curse of title holders who have seen the likes of Germany and Spain fall victim in recent matches and be eliminated from the group. scene. Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante are already excluded from the tournament in Qatar, so the midfield chooses itself to a certain extent, while Raphael Varane has gone through a serious injury to be included and Mike Meignan has yet to prove his fitness.
Let’s move on to the roster breakdown and what I think the French team’s table would look like in a rough 3-4-1-2 system:
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) The preferred captain of Deschamps and the most senior shot stopper in France. If Meignan had been in good shape, the 35-year-old could have been under a little pressure. However, with the Milan player practically out of stock, there will be absolutely no controversy over this position unless Lloris’s availability is compromised at the very last minute.
Centre-back — Benjamin Pavard (Bayern): This is perhaps the weakest link in France’s defense and this is where Deschamps’ loyalty factor comes into play. Up until the start of this season, the 26-year-old’s claim to a starting role was dubious, as were many of his defensive teammates. However, the strong start of the campaign in Germany allayed some of these fears. Assuming he is deployed in the center of the defense and not in the forward position on the right, Pavard secures the continuity along with Rafael Varane and Prenel Kimpembe.
Centre-back — Raphael Varane (Manchester United): I doubt at the moment that, given his recent fear, the 29-year-old would have been a major blow to Deschamps. Form and fitness issues aside, Varane should start as he is one of the most reliable on-pitch assistants his manager has. Life after Real Madrid hasn’t been easy, but the RC Lens youth academy graduate remains a great defender when he’s at his best. If he’s healthy enough to start, expect him to be the cornerstone of that back line. Without it, it will look completely different.
Centre-back — Prenel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain) Returning from injury at the right time, the 27-year-old should take his place on defense along with Varan and Pavard. If Kimpembe or the Bayern player are unavailable, William Saliba or Lucas Hernandez could take their place. However, Deschamps has confidence in the PSG star and he will most likely be in the starting lineup against Australia. Kimpembe also capitalizes on the fact that Deschamps was unable to test other unscrupulous defensive options in combat such as Wesley Fofana.
Right wing-back — Kingsley Coman (Bayern): Primarily a striker, Deschamps has experimented with the 26-year-old in something of a full-back role and could have continued in that vein. The Bayern star has been with Les Bleus for quite some time and Deschamps will count on that trust and understanding. Relative newcomer Jonathan Klauss of Olympique de Marseille was tormented by a late delisting.
Right central midfielder – Aurélien Chuameni (Real Madrid): While Pogba was still a possibility, Chuameni likely missed out on a starting role with Adrien Rabiot ahead of him in the pecking order. However, the unavailability of the Juventus player has opened the door for the arrival of a real star, which he is likely to do. Whether Deschamps goes 3-4-1-2 or 4-3-3, Chuameni will now most likely be in that lineup.
Left midfielder – Adrien Rabiot (Juventus): Along with Pavard, perhaps one of the players most at risk of losing their starting role in the middle of a World Cup. The 27-year-old has been fighting a bad Juve team and Rabiot has been flattered to cheat him ever since he returned to the French ranks. Had Kante been in good shape, this would probably have been a backup role for the former PSG youth academy graduate, with Theo Hernandez a better fit on the left.
Left wingback — Theo Hernandez (Milan) He has become arguably the most suitable profile to play on the left side of the pitch, as Kylian Mbappé is likely to spend less time on the flanks in two strikers supported by Antoine Griezmann. Hernandez has already shown his qualities in this position as France won the UEFA Nations League and, depending on the availability of a centre-back, his brother Lucas could also fill the left-back position.
Central attacking midfielder – Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid): Now that Atlético Madrid and Barcelona have settled their differences, we are back in the game. Expect the 31-year-old to once again play a major role in Deschamps’ plans and be the link between Karim Benzema, Mbappe and the midfield without Pogba. Given his limited playing time until recently, Griezmann may be fresher than most, which could be a blessing in disguise as he enjoys growing in these tournaments.
Right winger — Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) The 34-year-old, who just won the Ballon d’Or, is expected to play a central role in attack, which should allow Mbappe to find space to use with his searing speed. So far, it hasn’t been as enjoyable as many expected, but this is a tournament where Benzema and the PSG superstar have to get it right. As of a month before the start, there are more questions about Benzema’s fitness than anything else. Any indication that the real talisman is not ready and Olivier Giroud will most likely come off the bench.
Left winger — Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain) It’s rare to get bored in the world of a 23-year-old these days, and Deschamps would no doubt be grateful for a little less controversy than in recent years. Whether it’s France or PSG, Mbappe is in the spotlight and that hasn’t necessarily contributed to his best form this season. However, he has publicly stated that he prefers the Les Bleus system to the Les Parisiens system, and all eyes will be on how he and Benzema coexist in the opening matches.
France squad for the World Cup
- Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Rennes)
- Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Bayern), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Ibrahima Conate (Liverpool), Jules Kunde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern). Munich), Rapael Varane (Manchester United)
- Midfielders: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Olympique Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Olympique Marseille), Aurelien Chuameni (Real Madrid)
- Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (Milan), Antonin Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Christopher Nkunku (“RB Leipzig”)