It is fair to say that France’s 2014 WC squad was devoid of the riches it has today. The quarter-final exit at the hands of eventual champions Germany did not come as a surprise to anybody. The scenes have dramatically changed in the past four years.
France has such abundance of talent at its disposal now that the national team manager could afford to exclude excellent players like Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette, and Karim Benzema. France’s World Cup squad was announced recently. The spark in attack which they lacked last time will now be provided by the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele.
Football fans across the world are gearing up for the WC in Russia. They are buying FIFA World Cup 2018 national team jerseys, painting their faces with flag colours and what not. Given France’ firepower, they will get massive support from fans worldwide.
This French squad is relatively young but its potential is frightening. France played the rigid old school 4-4-2 in the Euro 2016. Giroud would receive a direct ball from midfield and try to play it to Griezmann. He’d then use his quick-foot to create openings. The attacking prowess France has this time around means its focus should be more on attacking football.
Paul Pogba’s form and consistency for Manchester United over the past two years could be questioned. There are no doubts about his ability though. Given the chance to bombard the opposition box with late runs he has the ability to win games almost single-handedly. N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi will have to play in the holding role to allow freedom to Pogba to roam forward.
Deschamps has other options in midfield too if there is a need curb opposition’s attacks. He could use a four man midfield with Conrentin Tolisso and Steven N’Zonzi in the mix. The latter could be instrumental in containing the opposition playmaker.
Concerns at the back
Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is injured and ruled out until December. It means they lack experience and leadership in defence. Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane has had a fantastic season winning his third Champions League in a row and will be expected to make an impact at the WC. Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti is also available and Deschamps would hope that both the players form a solid partnership.
Systems that could be implemented
With the attacking talent at his disposal, an energetic and powerful midfield, and a comparatively solid defence Deschamps would be tempted to set up his team in a more attacking formation. There are two systems he could possibly play either a three at the back with a midfield diamond or 4-3-3. If he plays three at the back the midfield player will have to come deep and help in defending when possession is lost. Kante and Matuidi can run all day long and could prove effective in this system.
If they play more attacking 4-3-3 it will help them against teams that are well drilled in playing with width. The full backs can help in tracking the opposition wingers. With fast attacking players this system would prove beneficial in absorbing pressure and then counter-attacking.