Wednesday, May 7, 2014

World Cup Predicted Lineups: France

Up next in my series of predicted lineups is France. Les Bleus will be looking to overcome an extremely disappointing performance in 2010 in South Africa, where they failed to even make it out of their group. Amongst a mutiny of the players against manager Raymond Domenech, manager Didier Deschamps will try and keep the squad in good spirits, as they attempt to relive their glory from 1998. They have been drawn in a group with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras. France should make it out with relative ease.

Here is a look at France's road to the World Cup from ESPN FC.

France will likely lineup in a 4-3-3 formation, and will try and use their very talented midfield to create opportunities and help out the defense.

GK: Hugo Lloris (c) - Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

  • Spurs have had a disappointing season this year, and are fighting for the last spot in Europe for next season. Lloris has had an average season, which is below the standards of a goalkeeper of his quality. He suffered a head injury in November after colliding with Romelu Lukaku, but remained in the game, which resulted in heavy criticism from FIFA and FIFPro. He will look to continue his strong international form in Brazil.
RB: Mathieu Debuchy - Newcastle United F.C.
  • Debuchy has had a good season for the Magpies, after joining in January of 2013. He provides strong defensive skill with the ability to join the attack on the wing. He works tirelessly and can always be expected to give it his all for the full 90 minutes. He looks to have earned his spot in the starting XI, beating out the more experienced incumbent, Bacary Sagna.
CB: Laurent Koscielny - Arsenal F.C.
  • Laurent Koscielny has performed very well this season, and his partnership with Per Mertesacker in the center of Arsenal's defense was a key part of why the Gunners lead the Premier League for much of the season. He is an very good defender technically, and he is more than capable of winning an aerial challenge. He has been one of the most consistent players in the BPL this season, and should be one of the first choices in defense for Deschamps.
CB: Raphaël Varane - Real Madrid C.F.
  • After a very impressive performance for Real Madrid last campaign, Varane was replaced in the starting lineup by Pepe. He has struggled for playing time as he suffered a knee injury early in the season, and has featured sparingly since returning. Varane is still very young, and he will be looking to gain World Cup experience, as I am sure he will feature in many more for Les Bleus.
LB: Patrice Evra - Manchester United F.C.
  • The veteran left-back looks to be on his way out of Old Trafford, as Manchester United's new manager will look to clear out room to bring in new players. Evra has not had his best season, but he brings experience to the back line, and has put in some very good performances. I believe Evra will beat out Gaël Clichy and Lucas Digne for the starting spot.
CM: Blaise Matuidi - Paris Saint-Germain F.C.
  • Matuidi has been a rock in the center of PSG's midfield with his high workrates and ability to read the game defensively. He is a master at dispossessing opponents by both intercepting and tackling. He is no slacker in attack, and scored a superb goal for France against the Netherlands.
CM: Yohan Cabaye - Paris Saint-Germain F.C.
  • The midfielder has not played as much since his January transfer to PSG, but he is the type of player who you know what you will get out of every time he plays. He can create plays out of the midfield, and also has a terrific long shot, as you can see below.

CM: Paul Pogba - Juventus F.C.

  • The Manchester United youth product continues to prove that the Red Devils should have never let him go. The 21-year old was the captain of the France side that won the Under-20 World Cup in 2013, and he combines all aspects of midfield play. He is strong on the ball and very good at finding teammates to play the ball to. He can force opponents off the ball with ease, and has also been known to strike the ball from distance.
RW: Mathieu Valbuena - Olympique de Marseille
  • Valbuena has had a another very good season for Marseille, which has gone relatively unnoticed by most. With the Ligue 1 not as strong as some of the other leagues, Valbuena has not gotten the attention he deserves, other than from Didier Deschamps. Normally playing as a number 10 for Marseille, Valbuena is equally adept at playing on the right side of a front 3. He is a very skillful dribbler, and his vision can trouble almost any defence.
ST: Karim Benzema - Real Madrid C.F.
  • Benzema has not had his best season for Los Blancos, and still sits fifth in the La Liga scoring table. He has a very good combination of strength and pace, and his footballing brain seems to always have him in the right place at the right time. He is a clinical finisher with either foot, as well as with his head. He has been the regular starter for Les Bleus for some years now, and I believe he will hold off Olivier Giroud for the starting spot.
LW: Franch Ribéry - F.C. Bayern München
  • Ribéry has had another strong season for Bayern, having clinched the Bundesliga in record time this year. He is the most experienced player in contention for the World Cup, and he is almost guaranteed this spot come June. Other than Bayern's Champions League exit to Real Madrid, Ribéry has been a consistent performer, and one of the world's best playmakers. All these traits are why he finished third in the voting for the Ballon D'Or.

  • I believe that Éric Abidal should have a spot in the World Cup roster for Les Bleus. He has performed well for Monaco this season following his Barcelona exit, and would bring  much experience to the defensive squad. He hasn't been called up since November 2013, but he should be on that plane to Brazil

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