Young trio may lead France attack
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
WONDERKID: France forward Kylian Mbappe should start.