France last hosted the World Cup in 1998, and the last time they hosted the European Championship was in 1984. The champions on both the occasions? Well, you guessed it right, it is France.
And with France hosting this summer’s Euros the expectations again would be pretty high amongst the home supporters. And with the squad that Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps has at his disposal it wouldn’t surprise anyone if his charges walk away with the Henri Delaunay trophy on 10th July.
France are blessed with an abundance of great talent in all areas of the pitch. Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is the captain of the side which has players like Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho, Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny, Manchester City’s Bacary Sagna, Juventus’ Patrice Evra, Roma’s Lucas Digne and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane in defence.
Even if a case can be made about some fragility in the backline, the midfield and the attacking departments of the team are absolutely impeccable.
Defensive midfielder and formerly of Real Madrid Lassana Diarra’s career has been on a timely resurgence as he has started earning call ups and performing extremely well for the national team. Paul Pogba is one of the most sought after young talents in world football today, and everyone is aware of what the youngster is capable of.
Blaise Matuidi has been bossing the midfield for Paris Saint-Germain for quite some time now, and the sudden emergence of N’Golo Kante bodes extremely well for Les Bleus as they gear up for the summer. Dmitri Payet, who joined West Ham United last summer from Marseille of Ligue 1, has been one of the standout performers of the season in the English Premier League.
Despite the exceptional midfield line-up, it would be no exaggeration in saying that it the attacking department is where France truly have some magic men up their sleeve.
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has been lighting up La Liga consistently for the past three years now and his numbers this season – 24 goals and five assists in all competitions – speak for themselves. On top of it, he has added free-kick taking expertise to his arsenal of weapons.
And Griezmann is just one of the exotic options for Deschamps; he also has Manchester United striker and world record teenage signing Anthony Martial to play up front. The youngster made a dream start to his Premier League career and has been well integrated into the national team.
Another young talent Kingsley Coman, now plying his trade at Bayern Munich, gave an exhibition of his precocious talent when he scored an absolute beauty against Russia in France’s friendly against Russia.
Andre-Pierre Gignac, who has been lighting up the Liga MX since his move from the French league and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, are the other options at Deschamps’ disposal. All this talent is without counting Karim Benzema, who has been embroiled in off-field controversies.
It is clear that France have an exceptional squad and, combining it with the home support may just spur them to another European triumph.