Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
France team profile
Previous best: Winners (1984 & 2000)
France won the World Cup 20 years on from their 1998 success and they hoped to repeat their Euro 2000 win 20 years on before the tournament was postponed. The omens are good for the French based on the strength of their squad and the winning mentality built up over recent years. Having been beaten finalists in 2016 before their success in Russia another deep run is expected.
Can anyone stop the French?
France are heavy favourites to go all the way this summer, with their incredible roster of talent making them a difficult proposition for any side at the tournament. This group won the World Cup three years ago and that experience should only make them stronger in the latter stages, so it’s easy to see why they’re being backed for a strong showing.
France don’t feel quite as intimidating as the Spain and Germany sides who ruled at major tournaments, but that’s because of the functional nature of this team. Didier Deschamps has settled on a set up which is far from thrilling, but their defensive solidity, control of the game and attacking talent mean they’re a hard team to see off over 90 minutes.
The negative for the French is a tough group, but the maturity of their side should help them. Many World Cup winners return in a familiar system, but extra quality is on show with Karim Benzema making his international return. With Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann in support France could have a fearsome front three to lead them to glory.
One to watch: N’Golo Kante
Kante’s reputation continues to grow after another great season which saw him play a key role in Chelsea’s Champions League win. We’ve already backed Kante in our player of the tournament predictions and the midfielder’s unique ability along with his incredible reading of the game make him a real game changer for the world champions.
Rising star: Kylian Mbappe
The PSG superstar has nearly done it all at a young age. He’s tasted domestic success, was narrowly short of a Champions League win in 2020 and he has a World Cup to his name already. Given his age and the profile of player he is around Mbappe could finish his career with an incredible medal haul at this rate.
Did you know…
Despite the long line of incredibly talented French superstars over the years, Didier Deschamps has been manager or captain of France in three of their four major tournament wins. They’ve only twice made a tournament final without him involved.
France to win their group at 11/8
The big negative for France this summer is their place in the group of death. They head to Hungary – the only venue with 100% capacity in the group stage – while they meet 2014 world champions Germany and reigning European champions Portugal.
All three are able to make it through which does remove some of the jeopardy from Group F. However, we don’t expect France to worry about that. They’ve won their group at each of the last three major tournaments and they are up against a Portugal side who haven’t topped a group since Euro 2008.
Germany’s problems are quite clear, they’ve lost 2-1 to North Macedonia and 6-0 to Spain in their build up towards this tournament. While the Germans juggle their issues France are settled and in great form, so we’re backing them to finish top of their group at a great price of 11/8.
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