Current champions France will be looking to defend their title in the winter of Qatar as the World Cup nears us. Two-time winners, France have been going through a golden generation of talent for a long time, with many of their youngsters taking the world by storm. Their young squad won the World Cup four years ago in Russia, but a number of key players are missing from that roster due to injury. Let's analyze France's 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
France’s Squad for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, and Karim Benzema won't feature due to injury and age. Recent injuries to Christopher Nkunku and Raphael Varane mean that they are also unlikely to feature in the tournament. In light of all those injury concerns and the supposed champion's curse, do France have what it takes to win back-to-back World Cups?
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Alphonse Areola, Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda
Captain Hugo Lloris will don the ship at the back as he prepares for yet another world cup as French number one. Alphonse Areola and Steve Mandanda are competent back-ups, but the injury to Mike Maignan is a blow for France as he is currently the best French goalkeeper statistically in the top five leagues.
Theo Hernandez, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Ibrahim Konate, Jules Kounde, Benjamin Pavard, William Saliba, Dayot Upamecano, Raphael Varane
Although Raphael Varane is unlikely to start, France won't be short of top defenders. Didier Deschamps will most likely deploy a back five with Theo Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard as the wingbacks.
The back three should consist of William Saliba, Jules Kounde, and Presnel Kimpembe on account of their form and previous national team experience. Lucas Hernandez, Ibrahim Konate, Dayot Upamecano, and the unfit Raphael Varane provide great depth for the French team.
Eduardo Camavinga, Youssouf Fofana, Mateo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout, Adrien Rabiot, Aurelien Tchouameni
Didier Deschamps has usually opted for a double pivot of Pogba and Camavinga, but due to the injured absentee, Adrien Rabiot or Aurelien Tchouameni could be the ones to start along with him.
Mateo Guendouzi and Youssouf Fofana are likely to be the fourth and fifth choices for the spot, while Jordan Veretout is unlikely to play many minutes.
A thin midfield that is a bit unbalanced. This could be France's undoing, and this is the source of all the concerns surrounding the French camp.
Karim Benzema, Kingsley Coman, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Randal Kolo Muani, Marcus Thuram
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting attacks in the World Cup, France will have no shortage of options for their front three. However, they might be without Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema due to fitness concerns.
Olivier Giroud could start in his place, along with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann. Kingsley Coman and Ousmane Dembele should also play, but if France goes with a front two with a ten behind, the wingers are unlikely to see any action.
Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram were added at the last minute due to the injury to Christopher Nkunku. Both are unlikely to heavily feature in the World Cup, but are highly talented individuals nonetheless.
After analyzing the France squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, it's apparent that a number of key players will miss the competition due to injuries. Despite that, they will be among the favourites to win the competition.
The incredible performances of the front three of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Olivier Giroud helped Didier Deschamps win the last World Cup. Four years on, those three could start together once again as the French look for number three, solidifying their claim as one of the powerhouses of world football.