French football is in a good place at the moment. After the disappointment of losing the Euro 2016 final on home soil, the French side will look to go one further next summer and win the World Cup in Russia. The French will be easily one of the strongest sides at the tournament and may even be favourites going into next summer. The only problem Didier Deschamps will face next year is what squad to take with him to Russia.
The French have such a squad brimming with talent, it is almost unfair at the amount of quality players who will likely be left at home. The squad depth is also incredible and injuries surely won’t be a problem for Deschamps as there can be 2 or 3 players in each position to replace whoever gets injured.
Many have tried and now I’m going to give a go at trying to predict which French side, I personally think, should go to the World Cup and what side is most likely to go to Russia.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
The goalkeeper choice for France is probably the easiest choice of all. Lloris is one of the best keepers in the Premier League and the world and has been France’s number 1 for a few years now.
France’s captain will be crucial for them.
Back-up Goalkeepers: Steve Mandanda & Benoit Costil
Both keepers haven’t played much for France but will be the next best candidates to take with the FIFA rule of having 3 goalkeepers in every nation’s squad.
Full-Backs: Bacary Sagna (Right) & Patrice Evra (Left)
Both these Full-backs may be aging and past their peaks but will still add quality and experience to the squad.
The full-back’s experience will be crucial next summer.
Back-up Full-Backs: Layvin Kurzawa & Lucas Digne
France’s left full-back positions are considerably stronger than their right-sided ones. PSG’s Kurzawa is a solid back up as is Barcelona’s second choice left-back; Digne.
Centre-Backs: Raphael Varane & Laurent Koscielny
France have some solid Centre-backs to choose from, but Varane and Koscielny come across as the best and most consistent for their country. Koscielny continues to perform for Arsenal while Varane has gotten into the Real Madrid first-team over Pepe proving their reliability to be the first-choices next summer.
France’s main Centre-Backs in action.
Back-up Centre-Backs: Aymeric Laporte & Samuel Umtiti
Both defenders play in La Liga and while Laporte continues to consistently perform at Athletic Bilbao, Umtiti’s summer move to Barcelona appears to be a success and the player has a bright future. He may not be first choice for France yet, but he will be a solid back up in Russia next summer.
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante & Paul Pogba
These two are obvious. Pogba automatically gets one of the midfield places and his form this season wouldn’t have put too many doubts into Deschamps mind while the emergence of Kante in the last 18-months hasn’t gone unnoticed, with him getting his first call-up and caps over that time. With the tiring work from the Chelsea man and the skill of Pogba, France do look too strong in midfield.
Is the midfield the key to France having a successful World Cup?
Back-up Midfielders: Blaise Matuidi & Adrien Rabiot
Blaise Matuidi arguably has the most experience out of France’s current central midfielders but has fallen down the pecking order due to the performances of the premier league duo (Kante & Pogba). Rabiot is also a good back-up midfielder who’s impressed for PSG this season, especially in their Champions League game against Barcelona.
Attacking-Midfielders: Dimitri Payet, Antoine Griezmann & Ousmane Dembele
France’s attacking midfielders are by far, they’re most exciting and toughest position to choose from. On the left-side of an attacking midfield 3, Marseille’s Payet should be first choice after impressing in the French league on his return home. In the middle of this attacking 3 would sit France’s main man, Griezmann. Top scorer at Euro 2016 and carried his country to the final, the bronze placed Ballon d’or candidate will look to take his country all the way in the summer. On the right-side, Dortmund’s Dembele would be the best option. Still only 19, his lack of experience won’t be a problem as he makes up for it in raw talent.
Is Griezmann the main man for France?
Back-up Attacking-Midfielders: Anthony Martial & Kingsley Coman
Both players may not have had their best seasons so far but both have so much potential and would be valuable back-ups to the attacking midfield options in the France squad. Martial would be a good replacement on the left-side for Payet while Coman could replace Dortmund’s Dembele.
Will the Manchester United youngster make it into the France squad?
Striker: Olivier Giroud
Giroud isn’t the best striker about but would be first choice for France with just the one striker up-front. The Frenchmen has had a decent season at Arsenal and would add height and goals to the France side at next summer’s World Cup.
Will Giroud lead the line for France next summer?
Back-up Strikers: Kylian Mbappe-Lottin & Kevin Gameiro
Sevilla’s Gameiro would be adequate cover for Giroud and would offer something different upfront. With 10 goals, so far for Atletico Madrid this season, he could go into next summer in decent form. Mdappe-Lottin is also likely to get a call up to next summer’s squad after an extraordinary break-through season at Monaco. Only 18, Mdappe seems to be ready for the international stage and what better way to continue his formidable start to his career than at next summer’s World Cup.
Who will miss out?
France have so much squad depth that even with making a ‘missing out’ squad, it probably beats a good load of current nation’s first team squads. In defence, ex-Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala could miss out. Premier League trio; Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko & Morgan Schneiderlin are also likely to miss out with competition for places being high. Up-front Andre-Pierre Gignac could also miss out in the Forward positions despite being the back-up choice to Giroud at last summer’s European Championships.
Will Cabaye & Schneiderlin miss out from France’s 2018 World Cup squad?
A personal favourite of ours, which most likely will be missing from the squad come next summer, is Moussa Dembele. The celtic striker has been in world class form for the Scottish champions this season scoring 32 goals in 46 games. For some reason however, it seems likely that he won’t be called up to the squad in the summer. He is still yet to be called up or receive his first cap for the senior national side.
All Images source from Google Images, Sky Sports & France Football.