The French National team will be desperate to make up for their disastrous performance in the last World Cup, in which they crashed out the tournament in the group stage without winning a single game amid the controversy of a player revolt led by former Chelsea and West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka. France go into this year’s tournament as the bookmakers 6th favourite after qualifying through the play-off round due to coming second in Group I behind current holders Spain. The victory in the qualifying round came after a turnaround against Ukraine in which France overcame a 2-0 first leg defeat to win 3-2 on aggregate. France coach Deschamps has went with a mix of the experience of the likes of Patrice Evra, Bacary Sagna and Franck Ribery with the youth and exuberance of Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Real Madrid target Paul Pogba. There was however, no place for Manchester City duo Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, resulting in a foul-mouthed twitter rant from the formers’ girlfriend. Will Deschamps live to regret the decision or could France exceed expectations and go all the way in Brazil?
Hugo Lloris – The Tottenham goalkeeper is the captain for France heading into the tournament and will be dreaming of getting his hands on the trophy in July. The goalkeepers quick style of rushing out to pressure attackers could prove vital in the later stages as the France defence does not seem as strong as their likely opponents. He will also have to be fully concentrated in the Group games with France expected to dominate the Group, Llloris may have long periods of time without any involvement in games he will need to be aware not to get caught out. After a disappointing season at Tottenham in which they missed out on the Top 4, an impressive World Cup may open the door for Lloris to move on to a side playing in the Champions League.
Patrice Evra – Having recently signed a new contract at Manchester United, Evra will be keen to perform at the World Cup to ensure he is incoming Man United manager Van Gaal’s thoughts for the starting 11 next season. Also, Evra will know that at 33 years old this could be his final chance to grace the World Cup and will hope he can perform better than he has throughout a poor campaign for himself and a disastrous one for his club. He may struggle to get up and down the left-wing like he did in his younger days, particularly in the heat of Brazil, so Evra will have to use his experience to his benefit.
Paul Pogba – The 21-year-old Juventus midfielder won ‘European Golden Boy’ in 2013, an award previously won by the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli. Pogba has gone from strength to strength since leaving Manchester United in 2012 and will be looking to his 9 senior caps in Brazil. His playing style is that he can be comfortable both attacking and defending and has earned fame for scoring spectacular goals since his move to Turin. This will be his first major tournament for Les Blues and his confidence will be high going into the tournament after being linked with a 65 million euros move to Champions League winners Real Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann – The Real Sociedad winger currently only has 2 senior caps for France but could prove to be vital in the World Cup for Deschamps’ side. He has had his most productive season of his career, netting 20 goals in all competitions for the Spanish side. His pace and dribbling ability may prove to be invaluable for Les Blues as they look to unlock the defences of their opposition, particularly in the usually tight Group Stages of the World Cup. The 23-year-old has been linked with some big moves away from Real Sociedad to the likes of Monaco, PSG and Manchester United and the World Cup could be the opportunity he needs to encourage one of these sides to splash out and sign him this summer.