France have made some huge calls – leaving out Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, and strangely Didier Deschamps has said that he has not necessarily picked the best 23 French players, but the best squad – a dig at players in the past who has disrupted the team. Here is their 23 man squad:
GK’s: Hugo Lloris, Mickael Landreau, Stephane Ruffier
DF’s: Mathieu Debuchy, Bacary Sagna, Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho, Laurent Koscielny, Eliquim Mangala, Lucas Digne, Patrice Evra
MF’s: Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi, Clement Grenier, Paul Pogba, Rio Mavuba, Mathieu Valbuena.
FW’s: Antoine Griezmann, Franck Ribery, Loic Remy, Olivier Giroud, Karim Benzema
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Missing – Steve Mandanda (Injured, replaced by Stephane Rufffier of St Etienne
France struggled through, finishing 2nd in their group. They faced Ukraine in the Play-offs, and despite being 2-0 down qualified thanks to a stunning 2nd leg. Typical France!
Players to Watch:
Antoine Griezmann – after several fantastic seasons with Sociedad, he has earned his first call up for a World Cup. The wide-man has been in impressive form this season, helping Sociedad to wins against the likes of Barcelona, and scoring some incredible goals. Deschamps may not start him, but he it may be worth doing just so!
Paul Pogba – the Juventus starlet is an enigma! Always causing stir, weather it be for his stunning goals or comments in the media. Fantastic player who has developed well since leaving Man Utd, and has lived up to the hype around him when he was a kid. Again may not start but could earn a place.
Karim Benzema – he has had a good season with Real Madrid, scoring a hell of a lot of goals in the process. Could be an early contender for the Golden Boot, if he hits his stride against the likes of Honduras.
(4-3-3): Lloris, Sagna, Koscielny, Varane, Evra, Cabaye, Matuidi, Grenier, Griezmann, Ribery, Benzema
Difficult to predict this one – Grenier has been in top form for Lyon and is a creative force with Cabaye, but somebody like Paul Pogba could get the nod ahead of him. Benzema is nailed on to start upfront, and the form of Antoine Griezmann means he should start on the left hand side. Mangala or Varane could partner Kocielny, but we don’t fancy Mamadou Sakho to start after his recent form earned him a lot of criticism.
There are some decent odds on France – here are some of the main markets:
Win – 20/1
Group Winner – 4/5
Stage of Elimination: Quarter Finals – 5/2
Over 6.5 Group Points – 6/5
France should win their group – looking at their opposition only Switzerland pose any threat, although it has not stopped them messing things up in the past – Ecuador could be an interesting game! I really fancy them to get at least two wins and a draw, and earn Over 6.5 Group Points at 6/5 – Our Top Tip for France!