PARIS (Reuters) - France coach Didier Deschamps will have some tough decisions to make over his forwards when he names his World Cup squad with Les Bleus featuring among the favourites to win the trophy.
They lifted their only world title, on home soil in 1998, thanks to a steely defence and the sublime skills of playmaker Zinedine Zidane rather than their forwards but this time, just like at Euro 2016, France will rely on their attacking players.
Such is their strength-in-depth up front that the likes of Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman could miss out on the June 14-July 15 tournament in Russia.
Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe is likely to make his World Cup debut while Olivier Giroud also appears a safe choice as he rarely disappoints in the blue jersey.
His Arsenal team mate Alexandre Lacazette should also make the trip to Russia.
Deschamps, who took charge after Euro 2012 and led the team to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2014 and the European Championship final last year in Paris, has been blessed with a generation of fine strikers.
He can also rely on a formidable midfield force, notably Chelsea’s N‘Golo Kante and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba who have been gracing the Premier League with their talent.
The defence is more of a concern with Benjamin Mendy, arguably the most talented full back since World Cup-winner Bixente Lizarazu, sidelined with a long-term injury.
France, however, endured a tough qualifying campaign, only securing their place at the finals on the last night.
”We don’t manage to control the situation throughout a game, and we didn’t manage control throughout the qualifying campaign,“ said Deschamps. ”We did not really hurt our opponents. It’s important that we learn to do that.
“We have a lot of ambition but if we look at the other nations, there are two in Europe (Portugal and Germany) who are ahead of us, and one in South America (Brazil),” he said.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris