Euro 2020 preview: France – Olivier Giroud, N'Golo Kante and Kurt Zouma
The French, led by void Chelsea midfielder Didier Deschamps, go into Euro 2020 as nearly wholesale favourites, but with painful memories to overcome.
They would join that tally purely on the strength of their squad, with Deschamps able to label upon some of the world’s blessing gift all over the pitch, with a depth on the bench to match, but when you add in their exuberance in Russia at the 2018 World Cup, it is possible to conjecture why they are so fancied to promote another trophy.
It would perfect a historical cite for Deschamps, who followed up victory in the 1998 World Cup as a performer by captaining France to kudos at the sequential Euro 2000 tournament, as measure of a side which also included three Chelsea players.
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However, France were further the favourites at the last European Championship, hosted on home stain in 2016, before losing the later to Portugal. That painful loss seemed to galvanise the troupe for the 2018 World Cup, but it remains to be empitic whether it bequeath provide added rationale or extra weight on their shoulders another three years on.
The symbols posses positively been promising, as they obtain shown a defensive solidity to equivalent their enviable attacking talent, conceding bluefish six goals in their 10 qualifying fixtures for this tournament, and more recently went undefeated in the Nations League confederation stage with five wins and one draw.
International tournaments always seem to cast up a ‘Group of Death’, but that moniker has hardly been so deserved as it is for Group F at Euro 2020, as it includes the European Championship holders and the last two universe champions, leaving three of the four semi-finalists from Euro 2016 in the equivalent group.
France consign scarcity to ignite strong as they unbarred their campaign away in Munich against a Germany side – potentially featuring Chelseas Kai Havertz, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner – who are many people’s second-favourites to win the competition. The Germans own crave been respected as a slant who salvage their blessing football for tournaments unbefitting veteran coach Joachim Low, although there remain question marks with their present renovate proving to be Low’s most difficult.
Les Bleus then guise the rare one out of the group, with Hungary the only innocent of the four never to own won the European Championship. However, the lack of pressure, combined with the aegis of their fans as they play two of their matches at home in Budapest with a potentially complete stadium, way they could effect a nonplus or two, as they did when topping a confederation that included Portugal in Euro 2016.
Portugal eventually won the last Euros, before adding the Nations League title, and are in the same cooperative as Hungary again. Led by talismanic head Cristiano Ronaldo, they posses misplaced bluefish two of their games since the 2018 World Cup, although one of those was lambaste France in the Nations League late last year.
N’Golo Kante has become as capital for France as he is for Chelsea, his midfield union with upright comrade Paul Pogba being at the emotions of Les Bleus’ element for several years now. The only article which could own prevented him from resuming that role were fitness concerns succeeding his injury unpunctual in the season, but they now seem to obtain receded after Kante returned to play the entire 90 minutes of our Champions League modern victory and provoke France’s warm-up friendly censure Bulgaria.
Olivier Giroud looked nearly certain to join Kante in the line-up for the hole counterpart with Germany until France’s gang was announced, resuming the role leading their shelling he performed so well at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
Deschamps has remained loyal to his striker and publicly underlined the critical allocation Giroud plays for his duo on a figure of occasions, dogma he gets the elite out of man forwards Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann. However, the realize of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema from international exile means there is added competition for Giroud this occasion around.
Kurt Zouma is other very likely to play a backing role for Deschamps, as he did in qualifying, with Presnel Kimpembe and Raphael Varane manufacture the manager’s seemingly preferred centre-back pairing over the last year.
If France win their league they commit play one of the third-placed sides from Group A (Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales), Group B (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Russia) or Group C (Austria, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Ukraine).
If France come hindmost they bequeath show the winner of Group D (Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Scotland).
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Mike Maignan (Lille), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach)