Euro 2016 France Preview

If any country is especially hungry to lift the Euro 2016 title, it’s the hosts. France are 3/1 favourites to add to their two European Championship titles.

It is a realistic expectation that France should reach the final stages of the competition. This is due to the seemingly straightforward Group A, where they will face a challenge against Switzerland but should have the quality to defeat Albania and Romania. Manager Didier Deschamps is experienced and has at his disposal world class talent with a decent blend of youth and experience. Based on recent form, having won all but one of their last nine matches before Euro 2016, Les Bleus are in good stead to put on a real show in the tournament.

Euro 2016 France Preview

Friendlies

As hosts, France were automatically qualified and so their form going into the tournament must be judged by their recent friendlies. They notably defeated Germany 2-0 and have put aside the likes of Russia 4-2 and the Netherlands 3-2. This suggests that they able to compete against top quality European nations. The only defeat came against England, where a pretty even match in terms of both possession (France had 52%) and shots (France had eight to England’s nine) ended 2-0 to the English. No alarm bells should be sounding for Les Bleus as they have been on top form in their recent friendlies despite that result.

Starting Eleven

Deschamps favours the 4-3-3 formation, which favours their wealth of gifted attacking players.

Between the sticks, there are few goalkeepers that could match Hugo Lloris in the world, let alone Europe. The Tottenham shot-stopper has been in excellent form in the English Premier League this season, although his final performance against Newcastle casts some doubt ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament.

Lloris will marshall his defence consisting of Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Adil Rami and Patrice Évra who are all 30 years of age or above. The absence of Raphael Varane is a major blow, but such an experienced defence should prove difficult to break down, thus allowing their attacking team-mates to run riot.

The French midfield will most likely consist of Paul Pogba, Moussa Sissoko and Blaise Matuidi. They will miss Lassana Diarra, who will have to be replaced by as the deepest midfielder. Not only is this midfield technically gifted, but there is a wealth of physical prowess. This gifted powerhouse midfield is one of the best in the competition.

Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet should form the front three. All three attackers have been in great form for their respective clubs, with a combined total of 68 goals in all competitions. Griezmann is eager to overcome Atlético Madrid’s Champions League final defeat to achieve national glory. Payet provides another weapon to France’s arsenal with his free-kick ability to break deadlock matches. The absence of Karim Benzema allows young talent such as Anthony Martial to break through onto the international stage.

Verdict

Three key players such as Benzema, Varane and Diarra are missing from the squad. The defence looks potentially shaky despite its experience. But, France still stand a great chance of winning the tournament. The main reason for this is the exciting attacking talent at Deschamps disposal. There is even André-Pierre Gignac and Kingsley Coman to consider, providing excellent reinforcement for the starting eleven. The hosts will have the backing of their home fans on home soil and what better way to reward them by lifting the Euro 2016 trophy.