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France: The Ultimate Euro 2020 Preview

Highly fancied to win the title, World Champions France enter Euro 2020 looking to avenge their final defeat to Portugal in 2016.

With Benzema back in the international setup and the likes of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe all firing in regularly for Les Bleus, Didier Deschamps side will take some stopping.

Group F: Hungary, Portugal, FRANCE, Germany

Captain: Hugo Lloris

Head Coach: Didier Deschamps

FIFA Ranking: 2

Best Finish: Champions (x2) – 1984 & 2000

Fixtures:

FRANCE v Germany – 15 June, 20:00 (BST). Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Hungary v FRANCE – 19 June, 14:00 (BST). Puskás Aréna, Budapest, Hungary

Portugal v FRANCE – 23 June, 20:00 (BST). Puskás Aréna, Budapest, Hungary

Qualification

Despite failing to beat Turkey home or away, Les Bleus topped qualifying Group H. Routine wins over the likes of Iceland, Albania, Andorra and Moldova saw Deschamps’ side progress comfortably in the end, Olivier Giroud finishing top goalscorer in the group with six goals.

Squad 

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (Milan), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Léo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernández (Bayern), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris), Jules Koundé (Sevilla), Clément Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Kingsley Coman (Bayern), N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea), Thomas Lemar (Atlético Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Kylian Mbappé (Paris), Marcus Thuram (Mönchengladbach)

Source: UEFA.com

Danger Man – Kylian Mbappe

Though it’s hard to single out just one player as France’s key man in attack, Mbappe is the only one who is completely unplayable on his day.

Though his goalscoring record for his country is not as impressive as that for his club, Mbappe has a monster 44 caps to his name already at just 22 years of age.

A born winner, Mbappe will be among the favourites to challenge for the Golden Boot this summer.

One to Watch – Karim Benzema

An added layer of pressure will be on Karim Benzema this summer, following the striker’s re-integration into the national team setup following an enforced hiatus.

Much has been made of the war of words between “F1” Benzema and “Go-kart” Olivier Giroud, but France fans will be hoping that the feud has no bearing on performances on the pitch.

One of the best strikers in the world on his day, Benzema’s involvement in Euro 2020 is set to be fascinating, however it pans out.

Premier League Representation

Seven members of France’s 26-man squad appeared in the Premier League in 2020/21 – Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kante, Lucas Digne, Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Moussa Sissoko.

Elsewhere, backup goalkeeper Steve Mandanda is the only other member of the squad with English top-flight experience, appearing nine times for Crystal Palace in 2016/17.

Route to the Final

  1. If France top the group, they will play the team who finishes third in Group A, B or C.
  2. If France finish second, they will face the team who finish top of Group D (England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic)
  3. If they finish as one of the four best third place teams, they will play the winner of either Group B or C.

After the second round, the draw will depend on which third place teams qualified for the knockout stages.

Stats

  • France have lost only two competitive matches since the 2018 World Cup – 2-0 vs Netherlands and Turkey
  • Olivier Giroud will move ahead of Zinedine into fifth in the list of appearances for France with one cap at Euro 2020.
  • France have a winning record against Germany and Portugal but a losing record against Hungary.

Sam Hanys

A miserable Ipswich Town fan.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Arsenal 0 0 0 0 0
2 Aston Villa 0 0 0 0 0
3 Brentford 0 0 0 0 0
4 Brighton & Hov… 0 0 0 0 0
5 Burnley 0 0 0 0 0
6 Chelsea 0 0 0 0 0
7 Crystal Palace 0 0 0 0 0
8 Everton 0 0 0 0 0
9 Leeds United 0 0 0 0 0
10 Leicester City 0 0 0 0 0
11 Liverpool 0 0 0 0 0
12 Manchester City 0 0 0 0 0
13 Manchester United 0 0 0 0 0
14 Newcastle United 0 0 0 0 0
15 Norwich City 0 0 0 0 0
16 Southampton 0 0 0 0 0
17 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0 0 0 0
18 Watford 0 0 0 0 0
19 West Ham United 0 0 0 0 0
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 0 0 0 0

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