France Football Federation are the Defending Champions. The French won the World Cup trophy last time around in Russia four years ago. They have a similar squad to their previous World Cup squad.
Captain Hugo Lloris, Alphonse Areola, Steve Mandanda, Benjamin Pavard, Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane, Theo Hernandez, Lucas Hernandez, Benoit Badiashile, Ferland Mendy, Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, William Saliba, Eduardo Camavinga, Youssouf Fofana, Matteo Guendouzi, Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot, Jordan Veretout, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe, Christopher Nkunku, Kingsley Coman, complete the 26 man squad.
‘The Curse of Champions’
Since the 2002 World Cup, the term, ‘The Champions Curse’ originated. The Champions Curse was termed by Spanish Journalist, Fabrizio Romano. What is the Champions Curse?
Brazil won the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and were knocked out in the group stage in the FIFA World Cup 2006. The same happened with Italy after they won the FIFA World Cup 2006. Followed by Spain and Germany in 2014 and 2018 respectively.
Now the Same is Feared by the French
Of late, they have not been at their best. The disappointment of an unexpectedly early elimination from the Euro 2020 tournament, losing to Switzerland on penalties in the round of 16, has followed that great day in Moscow.
With their victory in the Nations League Finals in October, France is at their best. With goals from Kylian Mbappe and the venerable Karim Benzema, who was lured back from the international wilderness, they overcame Spain in the Milan championship after falling behind Belgium 2-0 at halftime in the semi-final before coming back to win 3-2. Before the big deal in Qatar, victory honed their competitive edge.
Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante WIll not be Part of the Squad
Many of this side’s main players from 2018 are still active contributors except for Pogba and Kante. Given their heritage, that makes sense, but there is also cause for concern because a few of those regular starters, Raphael Varane, Oliver Giroud, and Antoine Griezmann, to mention just three are no longer performing at the high caliber necessary to win back-to-back World Cups.