FRANCE

Daily Mail - - World Cup 2018 -

THE BOSS DI­DIER DESCHAMPS

It has been a case of so near yet so far for the 1998 World Cup win­ner since tak­ing over as France man­ager in 2012. Deschamps reached the World Cup quar­ter-fi­nals in Brazil four years ago be­fore his side were edged out by Por­tu­gal in the Euro 2016 fi­nal. He has picked a young, ex­cit­ing squad — leav­ing out some es­tab­lished stars — to go one bet­ter this time.

THE STAR AN­TOINE GRIEZ­MANN

This for­ward’s move­ment is so slip­pery he is like an eel. When he is through on goal, he does not miss. Griez­mann has had an im­pres­sive sea­son with Atletico Madrid, scor­ing 29 goals in 49 games on their way to Europa League glory, and it’s lit­tle sur­prise that ru­mours are swirling of a move to Barcelona.

THE PROSPECT KYLIAN MBAPPE

He may be just 19 but Mbappe is one of the world’s most feared for­wards. He is rapid! His com­bi­na­tion of pace, drib­bling and fin­ish­ing makes the £166m PSG star a night­mare for de­fend­ers.

KEY STRENGTH

There is an abun­dance of pace — and strength in depth. Deschamps has left out An­thony Mar­tial, Alexan­dre La­cazette and Aymeric La­porte while Dimitri Payet is also miss­ing through in­jury.

BIG­GEST WEAK­NESS

Af­ter a sea­son of strug­gle with Manch­ester United, Paul Pogba per­formed poorly in France’s first warm-up match. Deschamps will hope Pogba can have a more pos­i­tive im­pact in Rus­sia.

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