Didier Deschamps announces World Cup squad for France

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Didier Deschamps, coach of France smiles during the International Friendly match between France and Spain at Stade de France on March 28, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Didier Deschamps, coach of France smiles during the International Friendly match between France and Spain at Stade de France on March 28, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /

France has a squad that can be considered one of the favorites to reach the final. They do have their weaknesses to overcome.

French manager Didier Deschamps has been in a position most managers would prefer to be in, but understand the difficulty of. France has an abundance of talent, and narrowing their pool down to a roster of 23 involved some difficult choices.

23 man squad

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Alphonse Areola (PSG)

Defenders: Djibril Sidibé (AS Monaco), Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Adil Rami (Marseille), Samuel Umtiti (FC Barcelona), Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Paul Pogba (Manchester United), N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea FC), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla), Thomas Lemar (AS Monaco)

Forwards: Kylian Mbappé (PSG), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea FC), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona), Nabil Fékir (Lyon), Florian Thauvin (Marseille)


One of the more settled positions as far as choices, France will head into the World Cup with Hugo Lloris as the number one. Steve Mandanda is a solid option to fall back on if needed, but has had the occasional off night a few too many times this season.

Being a part of this squad will be a good learning experience for Areola. With Lloris and Mandanda on the wrong side of thirty, Areola will need to use this opportunity to his advantage to get the inside track to being the future number one.


Varane and Umtiti have been solid bets for inclusion, but the Laurent Koscielny injury woes most likely opened the door for Adil Rami.

The Pavard inclusion could reap the most benefits. Having flown under the radar for quite sometime, the 22 year old has been in great form for VFB Stuttgart. His flexibility is appealing as he can play centrally or out on the right.

The inclusion of Mendy shows that Deschamps has faith he is 100 percent healthy after missing most of the season. It also shows the lack of depth at the fullback position that has been a bit of a concern for France.


Deschamps has a great deal of flexibility with his group of midfielders. One would be hard pressed to find a better ball winner in the middle of the pitch than Kante. His ability to breakup the flow of opposing attacks and transition the ball into the attack makes him a key player in the setup.

Matuidi is a box-to-box player who can push forward into attack, but does well in reading the game and helping out defensively. He has been a mainstay for Les Bleus for the last five years.

Much will be written and discussed about Pogba and how he performs in Russia. Without question one of the most gifted players in the game, the level he chooses to push himself to may well determine France’s fate. If he is focused, France should make a very deep run.

Tolisso and Lamar will bring more attack minded skillsets to the midfield. Perhaps a surprise inclusion is N’Zonzi. His play for Sevilla has been stellar, and he can be a nightmare to matchup with due to his height. He is most likely the cover for Kante, but could be paired with the Chelsea star in an attempt to hold a lead and choke the life out of a game.


This is where France holds an advantage on most teams. Griezmann and Mbappe will form one of the most exciting attacking duos of the tournament on paper. Depending on formation, it will be interesting to see who Deschamps uses as the thirdforward (assuming a 4-3-3 lineup).

Dembélé has incredible speed and has been rounding into form recently. Giroud provides the classic target man/poacher role, and has a very successful scoring record for the national team.

Thauvin and Fekir both add further creative elements to the attack. Both can find the net on their own, but are good at providing service as well. Fekir provides some flexibility as he could be dropped into an advanced midfield role behind the forward line.


Everyone knew there would be some big names left out of this squad. There was simply to much talent for too few spots. The eleven players named as reserves are sure to be disappointed, but they are only an injury away from getting the call.

Wissam Ben Yedder, Kingsley Coman, Benoît Costil, Mathieu Debuchy, Lucas Digne, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial, Adrien Rabiot, Mamadou Sakho, Moussa Sissoko, Kurt Zouma

Dimitri Payet’s name not even making the reserve’s shows the depth of concern regarding his recent injury. Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette are the two biggest names who did not make the 23 man cut. Both have to be disappointed for different reasons.

Lacazette’s injury layoff and the addition of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang limited his ability to audition for a spot. In Martial’s case, being forced into a new position after Alexis Sanchez came to United may have thrown him off his game some.

Team Strengths

The attacking talent on this squad is apparent. They possess a great deal of speed and skill in the final third. Giroud gives them the fall back option for when defenses drop eleven behind the ball. Their midfield provides additional attacking options making them a tough matchup for any defense in the tournament.

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Team Weaknesses

The defense is where the concerns for France lie. Varane and Umtiti are some of the more talented and centerbacks in the game. That talent has yet to develop into a working partnership. There is also concern at the fullback positions as no player has made a solid claim on either the left or right back position. How quickly this group can come together and gel will be the biggest key to France’s quest.

Key player

It is easy to name several players as the key. Pogba has the talent to make the World Cup his own personal playground. Griezmann has recently claimed to be a top three player in the world. Mbappe will be one of the most hyped and watched young players ever.

Despite the presence of those three, Hugo Lloris will be the key for France. It will be on him to help organize the backline and keep it together. He will also need to overcome what has been some lapses over the past year. Questionable decisions in a qualifier against Sweden and a recent friendly against Colombia have some people beginning to question if his form is slipping.

On top of this is the additional pressure of being the team captain. He has handled this title for quite some time and should be used to the responsibility that comes with it. Being a captain from the position of goalkeeper can be more difficult. Your ability to interact with your team on the pitch is limited as well as interactions with the referee.

Next: England selects World Cup roster

France has a squad that can be considered one of the favorites to reach the final. They do have their weaknesses to overcome. Overall, Deschamps selected a roster that has plenty of talent and be flexible in the tactics they deploy.