Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The strength of France World Cup squad frightening

David Nugent in Editorial, World Cup 18 May 2018

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I have to say I am slightly embarrassed that England boss Gareth Southgate has had to consider selecting the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jake Livermore for his 23-man World Cup squad.

The situation would not look so bad if France had not just named a ridiculously talented squad of players for Russia 2018. They even left out players who would walk into the England starting line-up, never mind the squad.

Looking from an opponent’s viewpoint, most teams would be beaten before they even went on the pitch just looking at the quality available to Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps.

How could they leave such quality players out of the squad?

The above statement was my reaction to seeing the players who missed out on the squad. These are not poor players, we are talking about the likes of Karim Benzema, Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette and Dimitri Payet just to name a few.

There were differing reasons for the quartet’s omission from the squad. Benzema has a history with Deschamps, Martial has not played that regularly at Manchester United and Payet picked up an injury in the Europa League final playing for Marseille on Wednesday.

The presence of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Deschamps favourite Olivier Giroud in the squad explain Lacazette’s omission somewhat, as does the striker not being a regular starter since January for Arsenal.

In fact, looking at the squad France boss Didier Deschamps has chosen it is hard to argue much with many of his selections. He has such quality available in every area somebody was always going to miss out.

Nobody can please everybody all of the time, so looking at the French squad I can understand why Deschamps has selected the players has for the squad, although some will no doubt argue that his selections are wrong.

One of the favourites

France are currently odds of 13/2 to win the World Cup in Russia. That means Les Bleus are fourth favourites behind Brazil, Germany and Spain. Those odds are understandable considering the talent in those three squads.

All four teams are packed full of match winners and players who have won every trophy in domestic and international football. The French squad is no different. However, maybe the bookmakers believe that Les Bleus are not quite as strong as their big rivals in certain positions.

Nevertheless, they seem to have an overflow of talent. Germany has also left some big names out of their World Cup squad, so they are in a similar situation to French.

England cannot compare to rivals

I have to admit I look at the likes of the France, Germany, Brazil and Spain squads with envious eyes as an Englishman. In reality, only fools will place a bet on England winning the World Cup in 2018.

Plenty of England squads with far better players have struggled at big world tournaments. At least England boss Southgate is attempting to implement a certain style of play on his team.

In terms of style and quality, France are light years ahead of the Three Lions, as individuals and a team. Very few English players would get into France’s starting line-up, arguably only Harry Kane, who would be the perfect foil for Griezmann and Mbappe either side in attack.

As a neutral with French heritage, I always enjoy watching Les Bleus play at major tournaments. It seems unlikely that England will meet France at Russia 2018, but if they do, I fear for Southgate’s team.

It is not the England bosses fault. He just does not have the same quality of player available to him, as France. I can see Les Bleus thriving at this summer’s World Cup, with the likes of Griezmann and Mbappe proving to be key players.

I have actually tipped Deschamps team to win the World Cup this summer prior to the squad announcement. Nothing has changed since the squad announcement, as France simply have a frightening amount of talent in their squad.

Has Didier Deschamps picked the right France squad for the World Cup?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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