It is done ! We know the French players who will participate in the 2021 European Nations Championship. Exceptionally, they will number 26, as UEFA allowed in this very special period linked to Covid-19. It was during the TF1 newscast that Didier Deschamps revealed the list of the lucky ones. And contrary to what one could imagine in view of his habits, the French coach has several surprises in store.
The main information is the presence of Karim Benzema in the group. After five years of penance, one of the best French center forward of his generation is making his big comeback in Blue. At 33, he will be able to relaunch his international career and that is only fair given the performances he has shown over the past few months with his Real Madrid team. He is one of the eight attackers summoned. With his presence, the offensive sector of the Blues will look great during this Euro. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say he will be among the most impressive in the competition. Deschamps therefore chose to ignore the dispute between him and KB9. Water has flowed under the bridges since the sextape affair and the tagging episode at the Bayonne technician’s home, so he decided to give up the sponge. No doubt the two men explained themselves, burying the hatchet. A wise decision of which the France team will be the first to benefit.
The return of Benzema in the selection does not directly claim victims in attack. Because Olivier Giroud and Wissem Ben Yedder, his center-forward rivals, are there. However, Anthony Martial was not called up. The former Monegasque is not in his best form after suffering a recent injury. After missing the World Cup, he will therefore miss another major competition. Regarding the lane players and who can of course all slide in the axis, it is almost classic. The only surprise is the summons from Marcus Thuram. Borussia player M’Gladbach was thought to be out of the manager’s plans after his absence at the last rally, but now he’s called up for this Euro. 13 years after the last one contested by his father Lilian. Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé, the two indisputable members of the eleven, are of course there. They are accompanied for Kingsley Coman, Ousmane Dembélé and Thomas Lemar.
It’s not just in attack that Deschamps has chosen to surprise. Behind, the coach, however, innovated by calling on Jules Koundé. The Sevilla member will offer an additional solution in the axis, covering Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane Kurt Zouma or Clément Lenglet. This role could also have gone to Wesley Fofana, but the recent winner of the FA Cup will finally have to wait before discovering the world of the Blues. Regarding the right-back position, there will be two solutions, embodied by Benjamin Pavard and Léo Dubois.
As for the midfielder, Deschamps chose to pick only five. The N’Golo Kanté, Adrien Rabiot and Paul Pogba were sure to be there, and are even tipped to play starting during the competition. As a complement, we mainly relied on competition. Deprived of the 2018 World Cup, Moussa Sissoko is in the game this time around, and will offer options as a runner or recuperator, or even as a lane player. Corentin Tolisso is also called up, although he hasn’t played much for Bayern Munich. On the other hand, Eduardo Camavinga was dismissed. The latter certainly bears the brunt of his bad season in Rennes.
Finally, note that the trio of goalkeepers is the one everyone suspected. The irremovable Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda will be accompanied by the best goalkeeper in the French championship, Mike Maignan. Alphonse Areola remains on the quay. This is the list of 26 French players. Now all we have to do is hope that all these beautiful people pull in the same direction and live up to expectations during the great competition that is looming. The challenge is great, but so is the potential on paper
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Léo Dubois (OL), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Clément Lenglet (FC Barcelona), Jules Koundé (Seville), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Raphaël Varane ( Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea).
Midfielders: N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Thomas Lemar (At.Madrid)
Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (FC Barcelona), Kylian Mbappé (PSG), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Marcus Thuram (Gladbach), Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)