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Saturday 1 October 2016

Euro 2016 team-by-team guide: Everything you need to know about France

France

Published 09/05/2016 | 17:29

Paul Pogba, Lassana Diarra and Eliaquim Mangala
Paul Pogba, Lassana Diarra and Eliaquim Mangala

Kevin Palmer gives us the lowdown on the France

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FRANCE

Odds: 7/2 joint favourites

Group A fixtures:

  • June 10th: Romania in Saint-Denis
  • June 15th: Albania in Marseille
  • June 19th: Switzerland in Lyon

COACH: Didier Deschamps

There have been suggestions that this untested French side lack natural leaders, but they have one of the most iconic talismen leading them from the touchline as they look to triumph on home soil this summer.

Les Bleus 1998 World Cup winning skipper Deschamps has the weight of a nations expectations on his shoulders this summer and it remains to be seen whether he has the tactical acumen or the players at his disposal to deliver in the grand manner.

STAR MAN: Paul Pogba (Juventus)

Manchester United allowed this glittering star to slip through their grasp in his formative years and he has gone on to establish himself as one of the finest midfielders in European football, with his current price tag estimated to be around £70m.

A sparkling set of displays at Euro 2016 will spark a scramble for his services, with incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte a known admirer of this 23-year-old midfield warrior. Can Pogba live up to his hype this summer?

LOOK OUT FOR: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

One of the hottest properties in European football, Griezeman has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in recent months and it is easy to appreciate why.

On fire for Atletico Madrid in their La Liga and Champions League challenges, he combines goals with excitement and invention. That is just what France will need in the absence of Karim Benzema this summer.

WILD CARD: Dimitri Payet (West Ham)

A latecomer to the French set-up as they prepare for Euro 2016, but Deschamps could hardly ignore his sparkling performances in the Premier League this season.

His free-kick skills have been taken onto the international stage in recent weeks, with his sensational strike against Russia in March confirming this 29-year-old has come of age since his move to England.

VERDICT: The host nation tends to fare well in major tournaments, but there are plenty of question marks hovering over a French side that have lacked competitive action over the last couple of years.

Man Utd’s Anthony Martial could make a big impact if he gets a chance to shine, but the jury remains out on Les Bleus until they get the ball rolling in their opening match against Romania.

SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Roma), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), N'Golo Kante (Leicester), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle).

Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Dimitri Payet (West Ham).

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