France start their defence of the World Cup with a match in opposition to Australia on Tuesday night, the identical foes that Les Bleus defeated en path to the title in 2018.
On common, solely half of the gamers who line up for the World Cup winners in a closing will reemerge within the opening group sport of the subsequent match. 4 of the XI which defeated Croatia four-and-a-half years in the past did not make the squad this time round, together with all three of the midfielders (N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi).
This is the XI Didier Deschamps could deploy to kick off their sojourn in Qatar.
GK: Hugo Lloris – Essentially the most capped French captain within the historical past of the boys’s nationwide group is ready to steer his group out in Qatar with the armband on once more.
RB: Benjamin Pavard – “France are the group that everybody desires to beat,” in response to Pavard, a winner in 2018. “Because the reigning champions, everybody will likely be gunning for us.”
CB: Raphael Varane – When the Manchester United centre-back limped off in tears at Stamford Bridge in October, serenaded by unsympathetic Chelsea followers, it appeared not possible that he would make France’s World Cup squad. Nevertheless, Deschamps assured followers that Varane “is meant to be accessible for the primary sport”.
CB: Ibrahima Konate – The towering Liverpool defender solely earned his worldwide debut in June however may very well be thrust into the beginning XI on the grand stage in opposition to the Socceroos.
LB: Lucas Hernandez – Final yr Hernandez averted jail time after holidaying together with his spouse regardless of each having restraining orders in opposition to each other.
CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – A scholar of the sport, Deschamps has been effusive in his reward for what Tchouameni does off the pitch as a lot on it. “He actually listens,” his coach gushed, “he’s organised and he thinks about his soccer.”
CM: Youssouf Fofana – One other latest addition to the senior nationwide set-up, the wheels of Fofana’s ascent have been greased by the tournament-ending accidents to Pogba and Kante.
CM: Adrien Rabiot – The devilishly divisive midfielder refused to be named on the nationwide group’s standby record for the World Cup-winning squad in Russia. 4-and-a-half years on, he has climbed (fallen) up the hierarchy.
AM: Antoine Griezmann – Deschamps’ star pupil has featured in 106 of France’s final 110 matches throughout all competitions and friendlies.
ST: Karim Benzema – In October, Benzema turned the oldest participant to win their first Ballon d’Or since Stanley Matthews claimed the gong in 1956 aged 41.
ST: Kylian Mbappe – In the course of the September worldwide break, Mbappe made it abundantly clear that he prefers to play with “a quantity 9 like Olivier [Giroud] who occupies the defences”. Benzema was injured throughout that hiatus however the pair are anticipated to start out alongside each other – whether or not Mbappe likes it or not – this winter.