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Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Bastia), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Stephane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne)

Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Lucas Digne (Paris Saint-Germain), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Paris Saint-Germain), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Loic Remy (Newcastle United), Remy Cabella (Montpellier).


Team ProfileEdit

Few teams should head into the 2014 FIFA World Cup with more confidence and momentum than France.

Prior to the second leg of their qualification play-off with Ukraine, the 1998 winners' hopes of reaching the finals looked to have all but disappeared. France trailed 2-0 from the opening game, however, Didier Deschamps' men rallied magnificently to claim a 3-0 victory at the Stade de France and secure a 3-2 aggregate success, becoming the first team to overturn a two-goal deficit in a World Cup play-off.

Deschamps, who lifted the trophy as a player on home soil in that 1998 success, will hope that improbable qualifying triumph will be enough to inspire a wave of belief among France's players and fans following consistent disappointment in the last three major tournaments they have competed in.

Since losing the 2006 World Cup final to Italy on penalties, France have progressed past the group stage of a major tournament just once, suffering defeat in the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2012 to eventual winners Spain.

But Deschamps should be confident of enjoying much better fortune in Brazil, and there is likely to be plenty of pressure on an extremely talented set of players to rediscover their best following a disastrous campaign at the last World Cup in South Africa.

Four years ago, a shambolic French side fell apart on and off the field, exiting the tournament early after earning just one point from three group games.

The squad tasked with rebuilding France's reputation on the international stage is one awash with players from Europe's top-flight leagues, with the likes of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery all sure to be key to their prospects - although a troubling back problem has cast the participation of the latter into doubt.

One player who will not be pulling on the famous dark blue shirt is Manchester City attacking midfielder Samir Nasri, who was not even included on the standby list by Deschamps - apparently due to concerns over his attitude, as the former Marseille coach aims to avoid a repeat of the 2010 debacle.

Deschamps will need his team to be united in order to take advantage of a path to the knockout rounds that appears straightforward for a team of France's calibre.

They have been drawn in Group E alongside Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras and should be the favourites to progress to the last 16 as group winners.

Topping the first phase is likely to be more of a necessity for France considering that two-time winners Argentina could be their opponents should they qualify as runners-up.

A mouth-watering quarter-final meeting with Germany or Portugal could lie ahead should everything go to plan, however, Deschamps will not want to take anything for granted given their recent collapses at major competitions.

France's pedigree is obvious and was displayed in qualifying in a 1-1 draw with holders Spain and the dramatic comeback victory over Ukraine. Additionally, an impressive 2-0 friendly win against the Netherlands in March acted as another example of their ability to compete among the elite.

Deschamps has cleared every hurdle he has faced since taking charge in 2012, yet in leading his country into a World Cup he now faces arguably his biggest challenge yet, as he bids to restore France to their place at the very top of the game.

Player Profile (Paul Pogba)Edit

Position: Midfielder
Date of Birth: March 15, 1993
Club: Juventus
International Debut: v Georgia (March 22, 2013)
World Cup Appearances: 0
World Cup Goals: 0

France's Paul Pogba will seek to fully establish himself as one of the world's leading players at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Since moving from Manchester United to Juventus in 2012, Pogba has developed into one of the most promising and exciting midfielders in the game.

Indeed, he has emerged as one of the key men behind Juve's return to power in Italy, playing a part in the last two of their three consecutive Scudetto successes.

An imposing physical specimen with impressive athleticism and an eye for goal, Pogba is the archetypal modern-day box-to-box midfielder.

Pogba's talent has led him to become one of Europe's hottest properties, with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Real Madrid all thought to be keeping tabs on his potential availability.

Yet for all his successes in club football, Pogba will be determined to further enhance his reputation by making a major impact at football's grandest showpiece.

The 21-year-old's promise was there for all to see in 2013, as he inspired France to glory at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Pogba was named as player of the tournament following a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Uruguay in the final, which saw France become champions for the first time.

By that point, he had already represented his country at senior international level, earning a call-up for World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Spain.

He was sent off in the latter game after receiving a second yellow card for a bad tackle on Xavi as Spain ran out 1-0 winners.

National coach Didier Deschamps has retained faith in Pogba despite that misdemeanour, restoring him to the side for a 4-2 win over Belarus last September in which he found the net.

The youngster went on to play a pivotal role in the remainder of France's qualification campaign, which ended with a dramatic 3-2 aggregate play-off win over Ukraine.

And, with primary playmaker Franck Ribery now out of the World Cup due to a back injury, the onus could well be on Pogba to repay Deschamps by taking centre stage.

The France coach has already laid down the gauntlet to Pogba ahead of the tournament, urging him to cut out errors like the one he made against Spain.

"Pogba needs to remove certain superfluous aspects of his game," Deschamps said.

"No-one gains from them - not him or the team. I told him what he did well and what I didn't like.

"He can't take the easy route now, he needs to work hard."

France are considered to have one of the easier paths to the knockout stages of the World Cup, having been drawn alongside Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.

The 1998 champions will be expected to progress from that group, but the form of Pogba could well be crucial in determining whether Deschamps' men make it much further.

If he is able to heed the words of his coach and produce his best form in Brazil, the highly-rated Pogba is likely to win even more admirers.

News SourcesEdit


Le Parisien


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