The French squad is stacked with quality players, so they are expected to get a long way in Russia.

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France World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

France are the 2018 World Cup champions.


France vs Croatia – World Cup Final – 15th June, Luzhniki Stadium Match Report

Match preview here.

France Starting XI: 1 Hugo Lloris2 Benjamin Pavard4 Raphael Varane5 Samuel Umtiti, 6 Paul Pogba, 7 Antoine Griezmann9 Olivier Giroud, 10 Kylian Mbappe, 13 N’Golo Kante, 14 Blaise Matuidi, 21 Lucas Hernandez

Croatia Starting XI: 23 Danijel Subasic, 2 Sime Vrsaljko, 3 Ivan Strinic (20 Marko Pjaca 82), 4 Ivan Perisic, 6 Dejan Lovren, 7 Ivan Rakitic, 10 Luka Modric, 11 Marcelo Brozovic, 17 Mario Mandzukic, 18 Ante Rebic (9 Andrej Kramaric 71), 21 Domagoj Vida

Moscow Luzniki

FRANCE 4 CROATIA 2

Scorers

France: Mandzukic og 18, Griezmann pen 38, Pogba 59, Mbappe 65

Croatia: Perisic 28, Mandzukic 69

Match overview

France are crowned world champions for a second time after goals from Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba seal victory over an exhausted Croatia in Moscow.

There is a lively start by Croatia, with Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic causing problems on the flanks and Croatia’s midfield pressing Ngolo Kante into uncharacteristic errors. France’s opening goal comes against the run of play after Griezmann falls under the challenge of Marcelo Brozovic to win a free-kick which he then whips in. Mario Mandzukic heads into his own net but was Pogba offside?

But Croatia, the comeback kings, launch another recovery. After Kante is booked, Luka Modric supplies the free-kick from which Ivan Perisic equalises.

There is drama and controvery when, after a lengthy VAR review on the pitchside monitor, referee Nestor Pitana seems unsure whether Perisic has handled a France corner. There is no clear and obvious error, but it is a penalty by the letter of the law, if not the spirit of VAR. Griezmann dispatches the spot-kick.

Kante (on a booking) is subbed but France remain in control, extending their lead with brilliant goals from Mbappe and Pogba before a Hugo Lloris howler gives Croatia brief hope. But they are too tired to pursue another comeback and France are worthy champions.

Matter of fact

This was the highest scoring World Cup Final in 90 minutes since Brazil 5 Sweden 2 in 1958.

Talking point

A final with everything: tension, controversy, quality goals, own goals, shocking goalkeeping errors, and a thunderstorm during the medal presentation.

Stats

France/Croatia

Possession: 39/61

Goal attempts: 8/15

Attempts on target: 6/3

Corners: 2/6

Fouls: 14/13

Pass accuracy: 73/83

Distance covered: 99/100


France vs Belgium – Semi Final, 10th June, Saint Petersburg Match Report

Match preview here.

France Starting XI: 1 Hugo Lloris2 Benjamin Pavard4 Raphael Varane5 Samuel Umtiti, 6 Paul Pogba, 7 Antoine Griezmann9 Olivier Giroud (15 Steven Nzoni 85), 10 Kylian Mbappe, 13 N’Golo Kante, 14 Blaise Matuidi (12 Corentin Tolisso 87), 21 Lucas Hernandez

Belgium Starting XI: 1 Thibaut Courtois2 Toby Alderweireld, 4 Vincent Kompany, 5 Jan Vertonghen, 6 Axel Witsel, 7 Kevin De Bruyne8 Marouane Fellaini (11 Yannick Carrasco 80), 9 Romely Lukaku10 Eden Hazard19 Mousa Dembele (14 Dries Mertens 60), 22 Nacer Chadli (21 Michy Batshuayi 90+1)

St Petersburg

France 1 Belgium 0

Scorer

France: Umtiti 51

Match overview

France reached their third World Cup Final after Samuel Umtiti’s towering header from a corner was enough to see off Belgium in an absorbing meeting in St Petersburg.

Belgium made a bright start, with Eden Hazard a constant threat on the left flank. But after Hugo Lloris produced a brilliant save to deny Toby Alderweireld from a corner, France’s midfield asserted control. But while France enjoyed defensive structure and discipline, at the other end Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud both missed chances,

with Giroud scuffing the best chance, from Kylian Mbappe’s excellent lay-off. The teenager also played in Benjamin Pavard, but Thibaut Courtois produced an outstanding save to keep the game goalless at the break.

Giroud continued to struggle to get a shot on target but when his effort was blocked by Vincent Kompany for a corner, Umtiti rose at the near post to head home for the only goal of the game.

France maintained defensive control for the rest of the game, sitting deep and inviting Belgium to find a way through. A brilliant backheel from Mbappe played in Giroud, who again shot over.

Substitute Dries Mertens brought more purpose to Belgium’s right flank, but Marouane Fellaini headed his cross inches wide. Romelu Lukaku was well marshalled by French centre-backs, Umtiti and the outstanding Raphael Varane, but when he did find space, from Yannick Carrasco’s drilled cross, he could not connect.

Kevin De Bruyne and Hazard, who found themselves closed down and denied space at every turn by France, shot wide and high from distance. It was not to be Belgium’s night.

Samuel Umtiti heads in the winner against Belgium (Getty Images)

Matter of fact

Belgium were the first team to reach the semi-finals by beating countries from five different federations: Panama (CONCACAF), Tunisia (Africa), England (Europe), Japan (Asia) and Brazil (CONMEBOL).

Samuel Umtiti became the third French defender to score in Russia, along with Raphael Varane and Benjamin Pavard, matching the achievement of Bixente Lizerazu, Laurent Blanc and Lilian Thuram in 1998.

Talking point

An enthralling game between two outstanding teams who were, technically and tactically, the two best sides left in the competition. It would have made a worthy final.

Stats

France/Belgium

Possession (%): 40/60

Goal attempts: 19/9

Attempts on target: 8/5

Corners: 4/5

Fouls: 6/16

Pass accuracy (%): 86/90

Distance covered (km): 102/102


France vs Uruguay– Quarter Final 15.00, Nizhny Novgorod Match Report

Match preview here.

France Starting XI: 1 Hugo Lloris, 2 Benjamin Pavard, 4 Raphael Varane, 5 Samuel Umtiti, 6 Paul Pogba, 7 Antoine Griezmann (16 Nabil Fekir 90+3), 9 Olivier Giroud, 10 Kylian Mbappe (11Ousmane Dembele 88), 12 Corentin Tolisso (15 Steven Nzonzi 80), 13 N’Golo Kante, 21 Lucas Hernandez

Uruguay Starting XI: 1 Fernando Muslera, 2 Jose Gimenez, 3 Diego Godin, 6 Rodrigo Bentancur (7 Cristian Rodriguez 59), 8 Nahitan Nandez (20 Jonathan Urretaviscaya 73), 9 Luis Suarez, 11 Cristian Stuani (18 Maxi Gomez 59), 14 Lucas Torreira, 15 Matias Vecino, 17 Diego Laxalt, 22 Martin Caceres

Nizhny Novgorod

Uruguay 0 France 2

Scorers:

France: Varane 40, Griezmann 61

Match overview

France, with goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann, edged past Uruguay to reach the semi-finals for the sixth time in their history.

The French rarely got out of second gear, but then they did not need to. Without injured striker Edinson Cavani, Uruguay’s plan was to close France down, restrict their movement and passing, and hope for a chance at a set-piece. Unfortunately, it was France who took their chance at a set-piece. After Rodrigo Bentancur’s foul on Corentin Tolisso, Griezmann played in a free-kick for Varane to open the scoring.

Uruguay were forced to chase the game but any chance of a revival evaporated when keeper Fernando Muslera fluffed Griezmann’s shot for France’s second goal.

Matter of fact

Uruguay received more bookings (two, for Rodrigo Bentancur and Cristian Rodriguez) than the one (also for Bentancur) in all of their previous four matches.

Talking point

Uruguay were angered by supposed play-acting by Kylian Mbappe, who fell to the ground after substitute Cristian Rodriguez had kicked out at him in frustration at the teenager’s earlier showboating. 

Stats

Possession (%): 42/58

Goal attempts: 11/11

Attempts on target: 6/7

Corners: 4/3

Fouls: 17/15

Pass accuracy (%): 67/81

Distance covered (km): 103/99


France vs Argentina Round of 16 (30th June) Match Report

Match preview here. 

France Starting XI: 1 Hugo Lloris, 2 Benjamin Pavard, 4 Raphael Varane, 5 Samuel Umtiti, 6 Paul Pogba, 7 Antoine Griezmann (18 Nabil Fekir 85), 9 Olivier Giroud, 10 Kylian Mbappe (20 Florian Thauvin 89), 13 N’Golo Kante, 14 Blaise Matuidi (12 Corentin Tolisso 75), 21 Lucas Hernandez

Argentina Starting XI: 1 Franco Armani, 2 Gabriel Mercardo, 3 Nicolas Tagliafico, 7 Ever Banega, 10 Lionel Messi, 11 Angel Di Maria, 14 Javier Mascherano, 15 Enzo Perez (19 Sergio Aguero 66), 16 Marcos Rojo (6 Federico Fazio 46), 17 Nicolas Otamendi, 22 Cristian Pavon (13 Max Meza 75)

Kazan

France 4 Argentina 3

Scorers

France: Griezmann 13pen, Pavard 57, Mbappe 63, 69

Argentina: Di Maria 41, Mercado 48, Aguero 90+2

Match overview

Kylian Mbappe outshone Lionel Messi as France tore through a disjointed and disorientated Argentina in breathtaking style to become the first team to reach the quarter-finals.

Argentina began nervously and their defence had no answer to the blistering pace of Mbappe, whose run from his own half was ended by Marcos Rojo’s stupid foul for a penalty converted by Antoine Griezmann for the opening goal.

France should have gone further ahead but a wonderstrike from Angel Di Maria hauled Argentina back into the game shortly before half-time.

Argentina enjoyed a stroke of luck when Gabriel Mercado’s deflection put them ahead early in the second half. But the lead was brief as France roared back with a brilliant volley from Benjamin Pavard and two goals from the outstanding Mbappe before Sergio Aguero’s stoppage-time header set up a frantic final minute.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring two goals against Argentina (Getty Images)

Matter of fact

Didier Deschamps took charge of his 80th game as France coach – a new record.

Talking point

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli’s tactics made little sense. Messi was left isolated in a false-nine role and the ageing defence played too high up the pitch, leaving them exposed to Mbappe’s pace. Aguero’s arrival gave them more penalty-area presence but it was too late.

Stats

France/Argentina

Possession (%): 41/59

Goal attempts: 9/9

Attempts on target: 4/1

Corners: 0/4

Fouls: 21/15

Pass accuracy (%): 82/85

Distance covered (km): 97/96


France vs Denmark – 26th June Match Report

Match preview here.

France Starting XI: 16 Steve Mandanda, 3 Presnel Kimpembe, 4 Raphael Varane, 7 Antoine Griezmann (18 Nabil Fekir 69), 8 Thomas Lemar, 9 Olivier Giroud, 11 Ousmane Dembele (10 Kylian Mbappe 78), 13 N’Golo Kante, 15 Steven N’Zonzi, 19 Djibril Sidibe, 21 Lucas Hernandez (22 Benjamin Mendy 50)

Denmark Starting XI: 1 Kaspar Schmeichel, 4 Simon Kjaer, 6 Andreas Christensen, 8 Thomas Delaney (18 Lukas Lerager 90+2), 10 Christian Eriksen, 11 Martin Braithwaite, 13 Mathias Jorgensen, 14 Henrik Dalsgaard, 17 Jen Stryger Larsen, 21 Andreas Cornelius (12 Kasper Dolberg 75), 23 Pione Sisto (15 Viktor Fischer 60)

Moscow Luzniki

Denmark 0 France 0

Match overview

France and Denmark played out the first goalless draw of the tournament in a hugely frustrating encounter. Boos and whistles rang around Moscow’s Luzniki stadium as fans experessed indignation at both teams’ laissez-faire attittude. But the stalement suited both teams: France finished as group winners, with the Danes as runners-up.

There were few goalmouth moments as both teams cancelled each other. France, with a virtual B team, struggled to break down Denmark’s defensive wall. When Antoine Griezmann did find a way to goal, bursting through on the counter-attack, Mathias Jorgensen fouled him for the game’s only yellow card.

France and Denmark played to a 0-0 draw (Getty Images)

Talking point

France coach Didier Deschamps made multiple changes to his starting line-up but the attacking innovations – notably Thomas Lemar and Ousmane Dembele – made little use of their opportunity.

Denmark’s defensive set-up included centre-back Andreas Christensen deployed in central midfield in a bid for the point needed to reach the knockout stage.

Stats

Denmark/France

Possession (%): 48/62

Goal attempts: 5/11

Attempts on target: 2/6

Corners: 4/2

Fouls: 10/10

Pass accuracy (%): 70/86

Distance covered (km): 106/104


France vs Peru (21st June) Match Report

Match preview here

France Starting XI: 1 Hugo Lloris, 2 Benjamin Pavard, 4 Raphael Varane, 5 Samuel Umtiti, 6 Paul Pogba (15 Steven Nzonzi 89), 7 Antoine Griezmann (18 Nabil Fekir 80), 9 Olivier Giroud, 10 Kylian Mbappe (11 Ousmane Dembele 75). 13 N’Golo Kante, 14 Blaise Matuidi, 21 Lucas Hernandez

Peru Starting XI: 1 Pedro Gallese, 2 Alberto Rodriguez (4 Anderson Santamaria 46), 6 Miguel Trauco, 8 Christian Cueva (11 Raul Ruidiaz 82), 9 Paolo Guerrero, 15 Christian Ramos, 17 Luis Advincula, 18 Andre Carrillo, 19 Yoshimar Yotun (10 Jefferson Farfan 46) , 20 Edison Flores, 23 Pedro Aquino

Yekaterinburg

France 1 Peru 0

Scorers

France: Mbappe 36

Peru: none

Match overview

France did just enough to knock Peru out of the tournament and reach the knockout stage themselves. They were far from convincing for much of the game while Peru, backed by noisy fans who packed the stadium in Yekaterinburg, deserved more for their positive approach. 

Peru’s best chance of the first half fell to the unmarked Paolo Guerrero, who had started in place of Jefferson Farfan, but he shot straight at Hugo Lloris. Within a minute, Kylian Mpabbe had scored his World Cup goal, latching on to an effort from Olivier Giroud, who  been brought in by France coach Didier Dechamps to bring a more of focal point to the French attack, with the ineffective Antoine Griezmann dropping deeper.

Farfan’s introduction at half-time added to Peru’s attacking options and for much of the remainder of the game they pushed a subdued France back into their own half. But the South Americns lacked a cutting edge to keep themselves in the tournament.

Matter of fact

Kylian Mbappe, aged 19 years and six months, became France’s youngest tournament scorer after recording his first World Cup goal.

Talking point

VAR was used to correct a case of mistaken identity when Peru’s Edison Flores was initially shown a yellow card before referee Mohammed Mohammed changed his decision and booked Pedro Aquino instead.

Stats

France/Peru

Possession (%): 44/56

Goal attempts: 12/10

Attempts on target: 6/6

Corners: 5/3

Fouls: 11/15

Pass accuracy (%): 77/81

Distance covered (km): 103/102


France vs Australia (June 16th) Match Report

A much anticipated France side kick off their World Cup campaign against Australia. Match preview here. 

France Starting XI: 1 Hugo Lloris2 Benjamin Pavard, 4 Raphael Varane5 Samuel Umtiti, 6 Paul Pogba, 7 Antoine Griezmann (9 Olivier Giroud 70), 10 Kylian Mbappe, 11 Ousmane Dembele (9 Nabil Fekir 70), 12 Corentin Tolisso (14 Blaise Matuidi 78), 13 N’Golo Kante, 21 Lucas Hernandez

Australia Starting XI: 1 Mat Ryan, 5 Mark Milligan, 7 Mathew Leckie, 10 Robbie Kruse (17 Daniel Arzani 83), 11 Andrew Nabbout (9 Tomi Juric 64), 13 Aaron Mooy, 15 Mile Jedinak, 16 Aziz Behich, 19 Josh Risdon, 20 Trent Sainsbury, 23 Tom Rogic (22 Jackson  Irvine 72)

Kazan 

France 2 Australia 1 

Scorers:
France: Griezmann 58pen, Behich 82og

Australia: Jedinak 62pen

Match overview

France, despite their attacking talents, gave a lackustre performance in their opening game. They lacked energy and did just enough to edge past an Australia side who withstood an early flurry of French attacks to settle well in the game. France claimed their victory with the help of video technology: their opening goal was the first to be awarded by the VAR, their second needed goalline technology to confirm the ball had crossed the line.

Antoine Griezmann scores a penalty against Australia (Getty Images)

Matter of fact

Mile Jedinak became the first Australia to captain his country at two World Cups – and to score from the penalty spot at two World Cups.

Talking point

France’s opening goal was the first to be awarded in the World Cup following consultation with the video referee (VAR). It was a contentious decision, with Australia claiming that Josh Risdon made contact with the ball before he fouled Antoine Griezmann. But referee Andres Cunha, alerted by the VAR, consulted with the pitchside monitor and awarded the penalty.

Stats

France/Australia

Possession (%): 51/49

Goal attempts: 12/4

Attempts on target: 4/2

Corners: 5/1

Fouls: 16/19

Pass accuracy (%): 87/85

Distance covered (km): 103/111


France World Cup Guide

France qualified for the 2018 World Cup by topping European Group A, but Sweden pushed them all the way to the final round of matches. Didier Deschamps’ team needed a win in their last game against Belarus to be sure of going to Russia and delivered a 2-1 victory at Stade de France.

Key Moments in Qualifying 

Oct 2016
Memories of a laborious 0-0 draw with Belarus are banished by an impressive 4-1 home win over Bulgaria – despite falling behind to a sixth-minute penalty.
Jun 2017
Facing Sweden in Solna, keeper Hugo Lloris commits a howler in added time, messing up a clearance that allows Ola Toivonen to score from the halfway line as France lose 2-1.
Aug 2017
Thomas Lemar scores twice in a 4-0 win over Holland. Kylian Mbappe scores his first international goal and Deschamps’ team go top of the group as Sweden lose 3-2 in Bulgaria.
Oct 2017
First-half goals from Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud wrap up qualification with a 2-1 victory at home to Belarus.

Related: Franck Ribery December 2005

France World Cup Group

France are in Group C along with Australia, Peru, and the Christian Eriksen lead Denmark.

France World Cup Friendlies

France let a two goal lead slip away against Colombia on the 23rd of March to lose 3-2. Four days later they bounced back with a 3-1 win against the hosts Russia. Two more wins followed against the Republic of Ireland and Italy. Their final game was against the USA and an uninspiring draw was the result.

  • 23rd March – Colombia (lost 3-2)
  • 27th March – Russia (won 3-1)
  • 28th May – Republic of Ireland (won 2-0)
  • 1st June – Italy (won 3-1)
  • 9th June – USA (drew 1-1)

France World Cup Fixtures

France will open their World Cup account against Australia on the 16th of June, followed by Peru and then Denmark on the 21st and 26th.

Related: Christian Eriksen May 2010

The Coach 

Didier Deschamps, age 49 (15.10.68)
The former France captain won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 as a player before taking over as the country’s coach in 2012. Known for his no-nonsense style, his mistrust of the press and an ability to make tough decisions, he signed a contract extension in October that will keep him in charge until 2020.

Young Talent: Deschamps will have to utilise his stacked French squad in 2018 (Getty Images)

The Players 
Stars
Antoine Griezmann is one of the most coveted attackers in the game. Teen striker Kylian Mbappe is being hailed as one of the world’s most exciting talents.
Stalwarts
Goalkeeper and national team skipper Hugo Lloris is fast closing in on a century of appearances. Raphael Varane brings calm and authority to the centre of defence, while Blaise Matuidi remains a Deschamps favourite in midfield.
Missing
Karim Benzema is technically available for selection after his alleged involvement in a sex-tape scandal in 2015, but the striker hasn’t been picked for more than two years. Left-back Benjamin Mendy has been out injured since September.
Debuts
Mbappe and Mendy both made their debuts in a 3-1 win in Luxembourg.

France World Cup Squad

Final World Cup Squad – 

GOALKEEPERS: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain)

DEFENDERS: Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart), Adil Rami (Marseille), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

MIDFIELDERS: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)

FORWARDS: Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Florian Thauvin (Marseille)

Probable Starting XI

Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Mendy, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Djibril Sidibe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann.

France World Cup Injuries

Laurent Koscielny suffered an injury to his Achilles and will miss the tournament.

Exciting: Mbappe is being hailed as one of the world’s most exciting talents (Getty Images)

The Unanswered Questions

Will Didier Deschamps stick to his preferred 4-3-3 system?
Having dabbled with 4-4-2, will he be daring and flexible enough to employ other systems? With the defensive talent at his disposal, three at the back isn’t unimaginable.

Related: Antoine Griezmann November 2011 

Can N’Golo Kante establish himself as a world star?
Acknowledged as the Premier League’s best midfielder last season, the Chelsea player now needs to make his mark at international level.

Step Up: Can Paul Pogba finally step up on the world stage (Getty Images)

Will this be the World Cup that establishes Paul Pogba?
The midfielder has all the attributes to become a world star, but he’s not there yet. Russia could be the stage on which that all changes.

Will there be any surprise selections?
France have so much talent it’s frightening, but yes there have been. Defender Aymeric Laporte, midfielders Tiemoue Bakayoko and Wylan Cyprien, and strikers Moussa Dembele, Alexandre Lacazette have been omitted. Wingers Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman have also failed to make the squad.

Is today’s France better than the team that made it to the Final of Euro 2016?
Quite possibly, as they have more athletic full-backs to call on and some audacious youngsters emerging up front. Deschamps has tons of talent at his disposal but needs to make the team gel sufficiently to go all the way.

 

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