Position by position, France have the best squad in the tournament and there isn’t another side that comes close to their level, neither with the strength of the starting XI nor the depth of options available on the bench. The current champions are hoping to retain their title, which hasn’t been done since Brazil were on top of the world in both 1958 and again in 1962.
France will arrive at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar hungry to defend the title they lifted four years ago in Russia.
Their star-studded side will be confident of another good run at the tournament but must be wary of a recent trend that’s seen past winners fail to escape their group.
After winning the World Cup in 2018, France also won the UEFA Nations League in 2021 but were knocked out in the Round of 16 at the delayed Euros.
Didier Deschamps’s side will go into the 2022 World Cup having won just one of their last six matches and will be relying on their players to step up when it matters most in Qatar.
Final 26-man France World Cup squad
Manager Deschamps had until Friday, October 21 to submit an official preliminary list of 35-55 players to FIFA from which he selected his final roster for Qatar by Monday, November 14, with up to 26 players allowed on the final list.
Notably, Paul Pogba is absent from the list, as he was ruled out of action with a new thigh injury picked up while rehabbing his prior knee injury. Pogba’s agent Rafaela Pimenta confirmed in a statement to the media on October 31 that he would not be fit for the FIFA tournament.
N’Golo Kante was also ruled out of the tournament due to injury, while defender Raphael Varane was included despite an injury in the run-up to the tournament. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan was left out amidst injury struggles, as was Boubacar Kamara, while Real Madrid full-back Ferland Mendy was excluded as well.
Finally, there were late reports that Eduardo Camavinga could be left out, but that proved not to be the case.
Deschamps initially announced a 25-man list but indicated he could make a late addition to the group. On November 14, Marcus Thuram was added as a late call-up. Another revision to the squad was announced later the same day, with Presnel Kimpembe, who had not recovered sufficiently from injury, replaced by the uncapped Axel Disasi of Monaco.
|Goalkeeper||Alphonse Areola||West Ham (ENG)||29||5|
|Goalkeeper||Hugo Lloris||Tottenham (ENG)||35||139|
|Goalkeeper||Steve Mandanda||Rennes (FRA)||37||34|
|Defender||Axel Disasi||Monaco (FRA)||24||0|
|Defender||Lucas Hernandez||Bayern Munich (FRA)||26||32|
|Defender||Theo Hernandez||AC Milan (ITA)||25||7|
|Defender||Ibrahima Konate||Liverpool (ENG)||23||2|
|Defender||Jules Kounde||Barcelona (SPA)||23||12|
|Defender||Benjamin Pavard||Bayern Munich (GER)||26||46|
|Defender||William Saliba||Arsenal (ENG)||21||7|
|Defender||Dayot Upamecano||Bayern Munich (GER)||23||7|
|Defender||Raphael Varane||Manchester United (ENG)||29||87|
|Midfielder||Eduardo Camavinga||Real Madrid (SPA)||19||4|
|Midfielder||Youssouf Fofana||AS Monaco (FRA)||23||2|
|Midfielder||Matteo Guendouzi||Marseille (FRA)||23||6|
|Midfielder||Adrien Rabiot||Juventus (ITA)||27||29|
|Midfielder||Aurelien Tchouameni||Real Madrid (SPA)||22||14|
|Midfielder||Jordan Veretout||Marseille (FRA)||29||5|
|Forward||Karim Benzema||Real Madrid (FRA)||34||97|
|Forward||Ousmane Dembele||Barcelona (FRA)||25||28|
|Forward||Kingsley Coman||Bayern Munich (GER)||26||40|
|Forward||Olivier Giroud||AC Milan (ITA)||36||114|
|Forward||Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid (SPA)||31||110|
|Forward||Kylian Mbappe||PSG (FRA)||23||59|
|Forward||Christopher Nkunku||RB Leipzig (GER)||24||8|
|Forward||Marcus Thuram||Bor. M’Gladbach (GER)||25||4|
France national team stars, strengths & weaknesses
The 2018 World Cup winners remain one of the strongest teams in the world, despite recent struggles.
France notably have a good mix of young and old talent to draw upon going into Qatar.
Kylian Mbappe is the undoubted star of this France team and scored four goals at the last World Cup as a teenager.
The PSG forward is already halfway to becoming the side’s all-time top scorer, a record he will no doubt break in the years to come. His goals will prove crucial if France are to succeed in Qatar.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris might not be as flashy, but he is set to become France’s most-capped player if he plays at least four games at the 2022 World Cup.
There is no shortage of goalscorers in this France team. Alongside Mbappe, veteran strikers like Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann give this side plenty of players capable of stepping up in the final third.
Age is also on Les Bleus’ side going into Qatar, with a perfect blend of youth and experience set to take the pitch.
While capable of scoring plenty of goals, this France team is also vulnerable to letting their fair share in.
They’ve kept just one clean sheet across their final five games ahead of the 2022 World Cup with a number of their defenders not exactly shining at club level. The injury to Man United’s Raphael Varane will set off alarm bells in what is already a problematic sector of the field.
They also have a very thin midfield thanks to the injuries to Pogba and Kante.
France World Cup group
France have been drawn in Group D for the 2022 World Cup alongside Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.
In 2018, France also found themselves in group containing both Australia and Denmark.
Les Bleus will be the leading contenders to win Group D, with the Danes looming as arguably their sternest test.
|Tue, Nov. 22||Denmark vs. Tunisia||8 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
|Tue, Nov. 22||France vs. Australia||2 p.m.||Al Janoub Stadium|
|Sat, Nov. 26||Tunisia vs. Australia||5 a.m.||Al Janoub Stadium|
|Sat, Nov. 26||France vs. Denmark||11 a.m.||Stadium 974|
|Wed, Nov. 30||Tunisia vs. France||10 a.m.||Education City Stadium|
|Wed, Nov. 30||Australia vs. Denmark||10 a.m.||Al Janoub Stadium|
France vs. Australia squad, lineup
A strong start will be vital for France against Australia, with a tougher match against Denmark looming just four days later.
Deschamps will likely look to field a strong starting team for this game and save any experimenting for the Tunisia clash, when they may have already sealed a spot in the Round of 16.
Deschamps has preferred a 3-4-1-2 formation recently, with his fullbacks deployed essentially as midfielders. It will be interesting to see who he starts in midfield next to Aurelien Tchouameni, with Eduardo Camavinga expected to play, but Matteo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout, and Adrien Rabiot could all see time.
France projected starting XI vs. Australia (3-4-1-2)
GK: Hugo Lloris
DFs: Jules Kounde — Raphael Varane — Lucas Hernández
MFs: Théo Hernández — Eduardo Camavinga — Aurelien Tchouameni — Benjamin Pavard
FWs: Griezmann — Karim Benzema — Kylian Mbappe
He delivered World Cup glory in Russia, but now it remains to be seen how Les Bleus will bounce back from their premature elimination at last summer’s European Championship. Deschamps has a point to prove.
The man who rejected Real Madrid isn’t just the best player in this current France squad, but quite possibly the very best player in the world at the mo-ment. He’s already won a World Cup, and these tournaments are designed for stars like him.
France boast the best squad in the world, and depth that other countries could only dream of having. They could field two teams in Qatar and both would expect to do well.
For all their talent, France freeze a little more than they should on the big occasions in recent years, particularly since their World Cup win in 2018.