Photo: Squawka
Photo: Squawka

Having won the World Cup in emphatic fashion three years ago, France are one of the pre-tournament favourites to clinch Euro 2020 glory this summer and match the feat this squad’s previous generation achieved two decades ago.

The last time France won a World Cup – in 1998 – they went on victory at Euro 2000 as well. Twenty-one years on and Les Bleus are on the cusp of completing a remarkable cycle for manager Didier Deschamps, who as a player captained the side to those two previous trophies.

France have arguably the most exciting national squad on the planet. In Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele they have raw attacking talent. Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Thomas Lemar marshal the midfield, while Kurt Zouma, Raphael Varane and Benjamin Pavard offer a dependable defensive presence.

What’s more, the experience of Olivier Giroud, Hugo Lloris, Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko means this French squad is in safe hands. How far can they go? We’ll have to wait and see.

When are France playing next?

Photo: Squawka
Photo: Squawka

France’s first fixture at Euro 2020 will see them face Germany in a huge clash in Group F on Tuesday 15th June 2021.

The match kicks off at 8pm (UK time) and will be shown live on ITV and online on the ITV Hub.

Munich’s Allianz Arena will host the game, meaning France must get a result in Germany’s back yard.

France Euro 2020 schedule fixtures

Tuesday 15th June

Game 1 – Group F: France v Germany (8pm)

Saturday 19th June

Game 2 – Group F: Hungary v France (2pm)

Wednesday 23rd June

Game 3 – Group F: Portugal v France (8pm)

France Euro 2020 - 3 Key players to watch out for

Photo: Squawka
Photo: Squawka

Antoine Griezmann

The influence of EURO 2016’s best player and top scorer on the team has deepened with time; he scored three and set up seven in EURO 2020 qualifying, and has since overtaken Zinédine Zidane in France’s all-time top scorers rankings.

Clément Lenglet

The centre-back has settled with minimal fuss at Barcelona and, having only made his senior France debut in June 2019, now looks to be first choice alongside Raphaël Varane at the heart of Deschamps’ defence.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe has emerged in recent years as France’s best player for not only the future, but also the present day. Taking over the mantle from Antoine Griezmann, Mbappe is setting Europe alight with his displays for PSG, and is still just 22-years-old. The forward revels playing in France’s forward line, combining with Griezmann.

France Euro 2020 - The Full Squad List

A shock inclusion for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

Benzema has not played for his country since 2015, following his arrest over the alleged blackmail of fellow French player Mathieu Valbuena. He accused French coach Didier Deschamps of bowing to racist pressure after dropping him, and it was confirmed that he would stand trial over the incident earlier this year.

But after several years at the top of his game for Real Madrid, he is Deschamps 26-man squad for Euro 2020.

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mike Maignan (Milan)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Léo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris), Jules Koundé (Sevilla), Clément Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Midfielders: N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea), Thomas Lemar (Atlético Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern), Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Kylian Mbappé (Paris), Marcus Thuram (Mönchengladbach)

France Euro 2020 squad: Full 26-man squad and Club

  • GK: Hugo Lloris, (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • GK: Steve Mandanda, (Marseille)
  • GK: Mike Maignan, (Lille)
  • DF: Raphaël Varane, (Real Madrid)
  • DF: Jules Kounde, (Sevilla)
  • DF: Lucas Digne, (Everton)
  • DF: Benjamin Pavard, (Bayern Munich)
  • DF: Lucas Hernandez, (Bayern Munich)
  • DF: Presnel Kimpembe, (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • DF: Clement Lenglet, (Barcelona)
  • DF: Kurt Zouma, (Chelsea)
  • DF: Leo Dubois, (Lyon)
  • MF: Paul Pogba, (Manchester United)
  • MF: Moussa Sissoko, (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • MF: N'Golo Kanté, (Chelsea)
  • MF: Adrien Rabiot, (Juventus)
  • MF: Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
  • FW: Olivier Giroud, (Chelsea)
  • FW: Antoine Griezmann, (Barcelona)
  • FW: Kylian Mbappé, (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • FW: Kingsley Coman, (Bayern Munich)
  • FW: Thomas Lemar, (Atletico Madrid)
  • FW: Ousmane Dembele, (Barcelona)
  • FW: Wissam Ben Yedder, (Monaco)
  • FW: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
  • FW: Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Who is France Euro 2020 Manager?

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Didier Deschamps

Deschamps played over 100 games for France and won the World Cup and European Championship during his career before going on to steer the national team to World Cup glory as a manager in 2018. But the boss has unfinished business in the Euros.

Five years ago, France lost to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on their home turf in Paris. It was a chastening defeat considering Deschamps had been in position since 2012 with the express goal to win that home tournament. Still, five years on and France have never looked better. The squad plays for the boss and Deschamps is often happy to sit back and watch them play.

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The tactics of France

France are an uncomplicated side, tactically. Despite a brief flirtation with three at the back, it’s highly likely that Deschamps will send his men out in a 4-3-1-2 shape reminiscent of the same one France used to win the World Cup back in 1998 when Deschamps played, and that which brought success in Russia three years ago.

Lloris keeps goal behind the rock-solid duo of Varane and Kimpembe. Out wide are Bayern duo Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernández. Naturally centre-backs, the two provide serious physical and athletic prowess on the flanks and can add to France’s defensive solidity when they retreat into a rearguard (which is most of the time).

Kanté will hold midfield flanked by two men, one is Pogba who functions as the chief midfield playmaker of the side. He does his defensive work but is free to push forward and join the attack. On the other side is a more basic shuttle player; at the World Cup it was Blaise Matuidi but lately, it has been Adrien Rabiot. The idea of that role is that they provide supporting runs both inside and outside of the forwards, creating vertical thrust in a team short of it.

Up-front, we will likely see Olivier Giroud lead the line. Deschamps is an enormous fan of Giroud and the hold-up play he adds to the team. Plus, to be honest, the striker does have a great knack for scoring for his country – only Thierry Henry has scored more for France. Giroud will be partnered by Griezmann and Mbappé who, along with Pogba, are the key attacking pieces of the team.

Griezmann is the focal playmaker, everything runs through him. He is also the first line of defence with his exceptional pressing abilities, plus his set-pieces often prove crucial. Mbappé is lightning in a bottle, a pure accelerant who adds dynamism and goal threat to a side that can often lack it. Mbappé can make France irresistible if he’s in the mood, and he usually is at big tournaments.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

The form guide

Euro 2020 Qualifying: WWDWWWWLWW

France breezed through their European qualification with eight wins out of 10. They dominated every opponent except for second-place Turkey, a solid defensive outfit who beat them in Istanbul and drew with them in Paris. Besides that, Les Bleus walked their way into Euro 2020 with Griezmann clocking up a joint-best seven assists among all qualifying players.

Recent fixtures: WWDWWLWDWW

Les Bleus have been even more impressive lately than they were during their European qualification. Their Nations League group posed them little trouble as they won five and drew just one of their six group games, booking themselves a spot in the semi-finals vs Belgium. They’ve lost just once in their last 18 games, and that was a friendly against Finland where they played a weakened side.

France Euro 2020 Predictions

England may be pre-tournament favourites with the bookies to win Euro 2020 but France are in reality the team to beat. Deschamps’ squad is physically at its peak and came through tests against both Croatia and Portugal last autumn.

A big issue for Les Bleus is their group, which sees them pitted against Hungary, Portugal and Germany. But of the three ‘big’ teams in the ‘Group of Death’ it is France who are expected to grab top spot.

Winning Group F would see France move into the top half of the knockout bracket and likely avoid the likes of England and Spain. It may be that they meet Croatia in the quarter-finals, after which Deschamps’ men will look to make Wembley their home.

Chances of winning

Priced at 5/1 with Sky Bet, France are among the favourites for Euro 2020. Understandably so as they made the final last time, are defending World Champions, and boast five of the world’s very best players in their team. Their major concern will be the poor form of Griezmann because if he takes his Barcelona slump into the Euros, it could prove troublesome given how fundamental he is to their style of play.

Yes, there are alternatives in Kingsley Coman, Ousmane Dembélé or Anthony Martial but none of them can replicate what Griezmann does. Deschamps will need to use all of his man-management skills to motivate Griezmann ahead of the finals and get him back in the kind of form that saw him score 10 goals across Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

As long as he can resolve the Griezmann conundrum and make sure Varane and Lloris can avoid, y’know, Varane and Lloris’ing it up, it’s hard to see how anyone could stop France from adding the Euros to the World Cup and becoming the undisputed kings of international football.

France's past Euros record

France Euro 2020 squad (Image credit: PA)

After hosting the inaugural tournament in 1960, France didn't qualify for the Euros again until Euro 84, when they won championship. However, they surprisingly didn't qualify for the 1988 iteration of the tournament, and could only reach the group stages in 1992.

A third place finish in Euro 96 was followed up by another win in the tournament at Euro 2000, when David Trezeguet scored in extra-time as France beat Italy 2-1.

France finished in the quarter-finals at both Euro 2004 and 2012, while 2008 signalled discontent among the squad as they once again couldn't progress from the group stages.

Hosting Euro 2016, France believed it the perfect time to win their third European Championships. Reaching the final, Les Bleus were clear favourites against a weakened Portugal team after Cristiano Ronaldo limped off injured. However, they lost the final in extra-time, much to the displeasure of the home fans. France will no doubt look to rectify that mistake, especially following their 2018 World Cup win.

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