Young trio may lead France at­tack

Afro Voice (KwaZulu Natal) - - Free State News North West News -

WITH sev­eral top-notch for­wards at his dis­posal, France coach Di­dier Deschamps has tough choices to make ahead of his young team’s World Cup opener against Aus­tralia – and the ex­pe­ri­enced Olivier Giroud could find him­self on the bench.

The 31-year-old Chelsea striker, who has scored 31 goals in 74 games for his coun­try, sus­tained a cut on his fore­head in France’s last warm-up match against the US but has been train­ing with a ban­dage around his head.

Deschamps, how­ever, is ex­pected to leave Giroud out of the start­ing lineup for their first Group C match in Kazan on Saturday, hav­ing fielded him with the sub­sti­tutes in train­ing on Wednesday.

Kylian Mbappe, 19, and 21-year-old Ous­mane Dem­bele, who have linked up im­pres­sively dur­ing the buildup matches, should start along with An­toine Griez­mann, 27, to form a fear­some trio.

“We are three play­ers who ap­pre­ci­ate each other. We put our egos on the side,” Mbappe, who added he was “100%” af­ter tak­ing a knock on his an­kle at train­ing ear­lier this week, said.

“There are not a lot of teams who have a bet­ter at­tack­ing line-up than us.”

Should the 23-year-old Corentin Tolisso start in mid­field and Blaise Ma­tu­idi, 31, stay on the bench, it could be the youngest French team to start a World Cup since 1930.

Noth­ing to worry about, says Mbappe. “It can be a strength. We can bring some care­free ac­tion, some joie de vivre in a com­pe­ti­tion where pres­sure is al­ways weigh­ing on the squad.”

In de­fence, Lu­cas Her­nan­dez and Ben­jamin Pavard, both 22, are likely to start on the wings. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

WONDERKID: France for­ward Kylian Mbappe should start.

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