FIFA World Cup Russia 2018: France young guns must avoid ‘the favourite’ burden
France is one of the favourite team to win FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. Les Bleus are a very young side and most of the squad members haven’t been to a World Cup before. It makes them little inexperienced for such a big tournament but they’re still favourite to lift the trophy. Didier Deschamps’ side need to avoid ‘the favourite’ burden and just play their game on their merit.
‘The favourite’ burden put a lot of pressure on the team to do well in the tournament. Likes of Brazil, Germany, and Italy have never felt that because they have won it multiple times. But when it comes to one timer Spain, France or England, it really takes a toll on their performance. We hope that France talented young side avoid that favourite burden and show the world their strength as a team.
— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) June 12, 2018
To win such a big tournament like World Cup, the unity of the squad is most important. France need to work on that. They have a very young squad and everyone is eager to impress the world with their individual talent. And that’s where Les Bleus’ boss Didier Deschamp will face the challenge to keep them on level terms.
Take, for example, France’s attacking trio. Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, and Antoine Griezmann is favourite to lead the attacking trio role. Griezmann is the most unselfish player in this trio and he plays in the middle. Atletico Madrid’s striker is the most likely man to drop a little bit deeper because he can’t catch up with the pace of teenager duo. It left Mbappe and Dembele to move forward from the wings, and they may go for their own glory with shots from wide-angle which might not be as fruitful as playing the ball to Griezmann to do the creative work.
The inexperience of Dembele and Mbappe at this level and their inner hunger to succeed at the individual level may cost France their World Cup hope. Their midfielders have some of the finest names of the World football. Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Thomas Lemar, Nabil Fekir, Corentin Tolisso, and Steven N’zonzi are their club star players, and it’s difficult to choose three out of them.
None of them have played in a World Cup before and it’s a real challenge for them. Paul Pogba has been criticized recently for his off-field antics and dros in form. He has been dropped from playing XI as well, and how he and coach deal with it before entering into the tournament is a question-mark.
N’Golo Kante is definitely going to be a starter in the playing well. Chelsea midfielder is a real gem in this French squad and key to their success. Blaise Matuidi is a fighter in the middle, but it will be good to see how Deschamps deal with going with attacking mindset players or for defensive players.
They have Thomas Lemar, Corentin Tolisso, Nabil Fekir, and Florian Thauvin to rotate the squad in the middle. It will be one of the best benches at Russia 2018 World Cup. How Didier Deschamps deal with his talented squad will be a real challenge.
‘The favourite’ tag will really confuse Deschamps with his tactical decisions and it will be burdensome. France need a clear mindset going into the tournament. They have the arsenal to take care of the threat coming from their opponents; they only need to keep calm.
Thankfully, they have some calm heads at back. Hugo Lloris is their longest serving player alongside Adil Rami. The duo will definitely be the key to unite the team. However, it’s very unlikely that Adil Rami will start the game for them.
Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti is expected to be in centre-back pairing role. Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe is expected to fill in full-backs role to complete the four-man defense in front of shot-stopper and captain Hugo Lloris.
France has the squad to lift the World Cup. They are one of the favourite and they deserve that, but they need to overcome ‘the favourite’ burden to perform at the expected level.
France 23-man squad for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandana, Alphonse Areola
Defenders: Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Adil Rami, Benjamin Pavard, Djibril Sidibe, Benjamin Mendy, Lucas Hernandez
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Thomas Lemar, Corentin Tolisso, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N’zonzi
Forwards: Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Nabil Fekir, Florian Thauvin