Three reasons why France are the favorites to win the World Cup

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 4: Olivier Giroud of France during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between France and Poland at Al Thumama Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 4: Olivier Giroud of France during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between France and Poland at Al Thumama Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /
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Kylian Mbappe has been in sublime form for France in Qatar. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /

France beat Poland 3-1 in a Round of 16 contest on Sunday and will now face arch-rivals England in a delicious World Cup quarterfinal match next Saturday.

As the defending champs France still aspire to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1962.

The match against England will not be easy, but the French have enough firepower to get the better of Three Lions.

In my opinion, France are now the favorites, even ahead of the likes of Brazil and Spain. Here are three reasons for taking this position.

Plethora of options in defense

France are almost spoilt for choices in their defense. They are missing the services of the injured Presnel Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez, but do not seem to be hampered. Dayot Upamecano and Raphael Varane are doing a nice job at the centre of defense.

It almost defies belief that the likes of Ibrahim Konate, William Saliba and Youssouf Fofana, who are regulars for their respective club teams, are sitting on bench. And Didier Deschamps can call on their services at any point in time.

Moreover, right-back Jules Kounde is also an able defender though he does not go into overlaps too often. Left-back Theo Hernandez prefers to attack frequently, but also defends well and hence, France remain undeniably strong at the back. They also have a fine right-back like Benjamin Pavard sitting on the bench.

Les Bleus have conceded 3 goals in four matches, including a penalty, and veteran Hugo Lloris’ presence between the pipes lends extra solidity to their line-up.

France have the best midfield in the world

Make no mistake about it, the French have the best midfield in the world despite missing the likes of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba. Aurelien Tchouameni has stepped up really well as the defensive midfielder and keeps soaking up pressure effortlessly.

Adrian Rabiot is also having a wonderful tournament playing box-to-box and is contributing offensively as well as defensively.

The Juventus man often ventures into the opposition penalty box to meet crosses to utilize his aerial prowess while also dropping back to the left to give cover to Theo Hernandez and thereby compensate Kylian Mbappe’s lack of defensive work. Rabiot’s work-rate allows Mbappe to stay up the pitch and concentrate solely on attacking.

Antoine Griezmann remains one of the most versatile and useful footballers in the world and has done really well in a deeper role for the French. He has contributed defensively and has played long passes to great effect.

His wonderful clearance from inside his own box led to France’s third goal from a counter-attack against Poland. In addition to that, Deschamps can summon Eduardo Camavinga from the bench to replace any of the above three.

A brilliant attack led by the irrepressible Mbappe

Mbappe quite possibly has been the most influential player at this World Cup, having scored 5 goals and looking good for more. The 23-year-old has 9 goals in the premier tournament of the world and keeps tormenting opposition defenses with his darting runs through the inside-left channel.

Mbappe cutting through the channel and then scoring with a powerful right-footer has become a common feature in France’s matches and, needless to say, their opponents are perennially wary of him. His finishing has been top-notch as he usually wastes very little time in taking his shots.

To make matters worse for France’s opponents, Olivier Giroud has also been scoring goals and remains a constant threat for the opposition defense with his aerial prowess.

The 36-year-old became France’s all-time leading goal-scorer when he netted against Poland and has done a lot to ensure that France do not miss Karim Benzema much.

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The likes of Ousmane Dembele and Kinglsey Coman further reinforce France’s attacks through the right. Dembele can play crosses really well and Coman’s ability to cut in from the flank makes France’s attack more complete.