Does France Have a Chance in the 2018 World Cup?
France missed out on winning their home European Championship by a close defeat to Portugal back in 2016. Here we are only two years later, and France has qualified for their 15th FIFA World Cup, with matches coming up in just a couple of weeks. France topped Europe’s Group B, which featured Netherlands and Sweden. France is looking like serious competition in this year’s World Cup. Despite finishing first by four points, France has been frequently playing below their best and really needs to be in tip top shape in order to secure The Cup. Does France really have a chance at this year’s World Cup in Russia? Let’s take a look at the team, their strengths and weaknesses, and the starting squad who could possible take home the team’s second FIFA World Cup win.
Who is France?
Nicknamed Les Bleus, the France National Football team represents France in international football and was created in 1904. Hence the nickname, the team’s colors are blue, white, and red. France plays home matches at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris. France has won only one Olympic tournament, two UEFA European Championships, two FIFA Confederations Cups, and were the winners of one FIFA World Cup. Along with Germany, Argentina, and Brazil, France is one of the only teams that have won the three most important men’s titles recognized by FIFA. The French team experienced much of its success in the 1950’s, 1980’s, and in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
Strengths and Weaknesses
France boasts an abundance of young talent and strength that every other nation can only dream of. The team has an enviable array of stars on the squad and the best thing about the team is their youthfulness and swaggering skill. Attacks are simply frightening with players such as Martial and Lacazette, and even though they didn’t make the squad, their teammates have it covered. On the other hand, Les Bleus do have a few weaknesses. It seems that they have started to believe their own hype and that is never a good thing. The team could work on their inexperience and being more effective playing on the counter. Lack of consistency is also a factor that could hurt them in the finals with so many of their players recovering from injuries.
Starting squad for the World Cup
No country in the world can match the extreme strength of the French, however, they are a country that has struggled to get quality out of their groups of players. Coach Deschamps has put together a group of players who he feels will be his best shot at the finals. Some familiar names of France’s 23 Man squad are: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Benjamin Pavard, Benjamin Mendy, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Antoine Grizemann, and last but not least, Olivier Giroud. Hopefully, with these determined players, France will completely diminish their opponents.
Who are their star players?
Manager Didier Deschamps is taking charge of his second World Cup after leading France to the quarter final stage in Brazil, where they ended up losing 1-0 to Germany. The key to France’s win is to have all of their star players playing at the best of their ability, especially Paul Pogba. Pogba’s form for Manchester United has been extremely underwhelming all season at times. Just like his form in Manchester, Pogba’s performances for France have fluctuated. Antoine Griezmann is another star player with extraordinary ball skill and an immense amount of tricks which he employs pertinently, as he’s a wonderfully efficient finisher. N’Golo Kante is another key player that is crucial to France taking home this win. Twenty-seven year old, Kante, is consistently an excellent player. He’s had 22 caps and played his first ever competitive game for France I, the first game of the 2016 Euros. Another star player that has shown he has the potential to become one of the best players in the world is Kylian Mbappe. The 19 year old attacker is a very skilled player and works everyday to become better.
This season’s matches have sent mixed signals, especially with the 3-2 defeat at home to Colombia in March that comprised half an hour of great attacking, followed by an hour of nothing but embarrassment for Deschamps and the rest of the team. Despite all of that, many are voting for France, and with good reason. A realistic aim for France would be the semi-finals and nothing less or it would be considered a great underachievement. When paying attention to the squad and the matches they’ve previously played, there’s absolutely no reason why France cannot go to Russia and win the World Cup. They have seasoned winners throughout their team and undying talent to take on any other nation. Anything short of the semi-final will be a very big disappointment for The French.