Loss of Ribery is a setback for Les Bleus but Pogba is ready to shine…
After previous tournaments with discontent in the camp, France will be hoping to perform better this time round and restore pride in the shirt.
Didier Deschamps oversaw a thrilling comeback in the play-off encounter with Ukraine after losing the first leg of their tie 2-0 before scoring three unanswered goals back in the French capital to complete a miraculous turnaround.
Nevertheless, they did only lose one game in qualifying, and that was to the reigning champions Spain who unsurprisingly topped the group.
However, Les Bleus have suffered with injury problems in the build-up to the World Cup with Franck Ribery being ruled out with a back injury while despite reports of a broken leg being dismissed, Mathieu Debuchy is a major doubt too.
Given the absence of the Bayern Munich winger in particular, it looks a real tall order for France to make a significant impact in the tournament, but they have benefited from a relatively favourable draw which pits them alongside Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.
Deschamps will undoubtedly fancy his chances of guiding them through that group to the knock-out stages, but when faced with top level opposition, things could become a little more complicated.
One man who will be relishing the prospect of playing on a global stage is Juventus star Paul Pogba, who without doubt emerged as one of the most talented midfielders in Europe over the course of last season.
Having forced his way into Antonio Conte’s starting line-up in Turin, the young Frenchman went on to score seven goals and put on as many assists while he also played a pivotal role in providing protection in front of the defensive line.
After moving to Italy in search of first-team opportunities, Pogba hasn’t disappointed thus far and has inevitably been the focus of transfer speculation for months linking him to clubs all around Europe.
However, he will be fully focused on being a driving force in the French midfield this summer, and that is arguably the biggest strength of this team on paper with Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi expected to make up the trio in the middle of the pitch.
Elsewhere, Mathieu Valbuena and Loic Remy will likely provide width and pace down the flanks, while Karim Benzema will be the man tasked with firing the goals to take the French deep into the tournament, although they will have Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud on the bench.
With expectations not weighing heavily on their shoulders, France have the opportunity to emerge as somewhat of a ‘surprise’ package in Brazil. Pogba will need to take a lead role as he has the ability to become a genuine star at this level, but ultimately it will take a team effort if Deschamps is to consider the tournament a success.
Likely France XI to play in the World Cup (4-3-3): Lloris; Sagna, Koscielny, Sakho, Evra; Pogba, Matuidi,Cabaye; Valbuena, Giroud, Remy.
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