Euro 2016 Group A Preview: France

Euro 2016 hosts France come into the European Championships as one of the favourites, but can Didier Deschamps and co. live up to expectation and win the trophy on home soil?

France aim to win a second European Championship on home soil image: bbc.com

France aim to win a second European Championship on home soil
image: bbc.com

History

This is France’s eighth time at Euro 2016 and their seventh successive appearance at the European Championships. They won the tournament on home soil in 1984 and also became champions in 2000.

However in the past three European Championships France have failed to make it past the quarter-finals and did not even make it out of their group in 2008.

Key Player

Paul Pobga was voted the best young player at the 2014 World Cup image: espnfc.com

Paul Pobga was voted the best young player at the 2014 World Cup
image: espnfc.com

There are high expectations for France to win Euro 2016 on home soil and one man Didier Deschamps will be looking to is Juventus star Paul Pogba, to create some opportunities and add pace to the centre of midfield.

The 23-year-old already has four Serie A titles to his name with Juventus and was also top of the list in Italy for the most assists last season. France will hope that Pogba continues that creativity will continue for the European Championship.

Pogba also offers strength to the midfield and can track back and help out his defence. There is a lot of pressure on 23-year-old Pogba to lead the way, but the former Man United star will look to thrive under it and lead France to a third European Championship.

One to Watch

Anthony Martial has been a revelation for Man United this season after a £36m move from Monaco last summer, he will be hoping to continue his fine form for his country on Europe’s biggest stage.

Anthony Martial scored 17 goals for Man United last season image: theguardian.com

Anthony Martial scored 17 goals for Man United last season
image: theguardian.com

Whether as a striker on down the left-wing, the 20-year-old has caused many a Premier League side trouble with his wicked pace and skill and also bagged 17 goals along the way in his first season with the Red Devils.

Martial has got the potential to be one of Europe’s best striker’s and now the stage is set for him to become a star at Euro 2016. He could be also one to watch in the race for the Golden Boot.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Roma), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Man City), Adil Rami (Sevilla), Bacary Sagna (Man City), Samuel Umtiti (Lyon).

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Morgan Schneiderlin (Man United), N’Golo Kante (Leicester), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid),

Strikers: Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Anthony Martial (Man United)

France are two-time Euroean Champions image: winqq288.net

France are two-time European Champions
image: winqq288.net

Prediction: Winners

France won the European Championships the last time it was held in France and I have no doubt that they will be among the contenders for the crown, as they are my pick to win it all.

They have some really good young players in the likes of Antonie Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman and hopefully these young stars can handle the pressure of being the host nation and lead France to glory.

I think it will be an easy route to the semi-finals to France. World Champions Germany or dark horses Belgium are potential semi-final opponents before a possible final with Spain, but I am backing France to overcome all challenges and  lift the trophy for a third time.

France’s Fixtures

10 June v Romania (2000)

15 June v Albania (2000)

19 June v Switzerland (2000)

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