With the beginning of the 2016 European Championship just two days away, is France capable of going all the way to the end and returning to the top?
16 years have passed since France last claimed the title in the European Championship (2000). Since then, the team have failed constantly fallen short of matching the achievements of Zidane and co.
This year, things seem different. Coach Didier Deschamps has created a very talented and deep squad, as their target certainly is to dominate their opponents.
Even though striker Karim Benzema is not a member of the 2016 squad (after he was banished for his alleged involvement in a blackmail attempt on team-mate Mathieu Valbeuna, who will also be absent from the tournament), France is very strong offensively, with Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud being the key players.
Atletico Madrid’s forward had a tremendous season and will certainly play a central role on the side’s tactics, whilst Arsenal’s striker has enhanced his performance with the national team, having scored seven times in France’s last five games.
In addition, Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial are ready to take over, with the Frenchmen wingers having the pace to cause many problems to their opponents.
Moreover, their midfield line is one of the strongest in the entire competition, with Blaise Matuidi and N’Golo Kante offering relentless energy and Paul Pogba being the leader, as the team is full of pace and power, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Yohan Cabaye also capable of offering decent solutions, both defensively and offensively.
Without a doubt, however, their biggest weakness is their defence. Raphael Varane is out, due to injury, and the same goes for Kurt Zouma and Jeremy Mathieu as well.
As it’s unlikely for Mamadou Sakho to be available to play, Laurent Koscielny and Eliaquim Mangala will need to do their best in order to exceed the expectations and remain solid defensively.
Furthermore, France’s full backs, Christophe Jallet, Patrice Evra and Bacary Sagna should retain their performance at high levels, as Deschamps has limited choices on the defensive end of the pitch.
Overall, France is one of the favourites to go all the way to the end, as the team is full of experienced, talented and motivated players that can make the difference.
At the same time, the tournament will take place in their home country, so the fans’ support will be of utmost importance. That said, Deschamps’ sole target is to win the title, otherwise everybody will be deeply disappointed.
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