France - Team Profile

France have qualified for 13 World Cups through the ages, although, as we know, it would have been 12 if . . .

Manager: Didier Deschamps

Best finish: Champions (1998)

World Cup record: Played 59, Won 28, Drawn 12, Lost 19

History

France have qualified for 13 World Cups through the ages, although, as we know, it would have been 12 if the ref had . . . (Roy: "Get over it." Okay). They lost two successive semi-finals, in '82 and '86, the team that featured Michel Platini, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana up there on the list of the "greatest sides never to win a World Cup". They cracked the code on home turf in '98 but failed to double up in 2006 when Zidane lost his head (almost literally). Four years later, it was meltdown in South Africa. Never a dull moment.

Whiteboard

Having been accused of being too rigid with his tactics, Deschamps chucked caution to the wind, in a 4-3-3 kind of way, for the second leg of the play-offs against Ukraine. It worked a treat. They overturned a 0-2 deficit to book their slot in Brazil.

All Star - Paul Pogba

A host of possibilities on this front, not least with Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, but the ascent of 21-year-old midfielder Paul Pogba has been dizzying, and even though he has only eight caps so far he's already a key player. The former Manchester United man was central to Juventus' league-winning season.

County Colours – Donegal

Prone to some internal strife, wasted talent for most part.

Pundit's Corner – John Giles: "You just never sais pas with this lot Bill, they could be oooh la la, or zoot all over the place."

Prospects

Gawd knows. Seemed unlikely they'd make it at all, but they turned it around and now await Switzerland, Honduras and Ecuador in Group E. Allez. Only Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain and Belgium are ahead of them in the betting. A talented troupe, but Deschamps has to harness it. Bon chance.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: 1 Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur, Eng), 16 Stephane Ruffier (Saint Etienne), 23 Mickael Landreau (Bastia).

Defenders: 2 Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United, Eng), 3 Patrice Evra (Manchester United, Eng), 4 Raphael Varane (Real Madrid, Esp), 5 Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool, Eng), 13 Eliaquim Mangala (Porto, Por), 15 Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, Eng), 17 Lucas Digne (Paris St Germain), 21 Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal, Eng).

Midfielders: 6 Yohan Cabaye (Paris St Germain), 8 Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille), 12 Antonio Mavuba (Lille), 14 Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), 19 Paul Pogba (Juventus, Ita), 18 Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United, Eng), 22 Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton, Eng).

Forwards: 7 Remy Cabella (Montpellier), 9 Olivier Giroud (Arsenal, Eng), 10 Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, Esp), 11 Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad, Esp), 20 Loic Remy (QPR, Eng).

TEAM LINE-UPS

FRANCE (v Honduras): 1 Hugo Lloris; 2 Mathieu Debuchy, 4 Raphael Varane, 5 Mamadou Sakho, 3 Patrice Evra (yc); 19 Paul Pogba (yc) (18 Moussa Sissoko, 57 mins), 6 Yohan Cabaye (yc) (12 Antonio Mavuba, 65 mins), 14 Blaise Matuidi; 8 Mathieu Valbuena (9 Olivier Giroud, 78 mins), 10 Karim Benzema, 11 Antoine Griezmann.

FRANCE (v Switzerland): 1 Hugo Lloris; 2 Mathieu Debuchy, 4 Raphael Varane, 5 Mamadou Sakho (21 Laurent Koscielny, 66 mins), 3 Patrice Evra; 18 Moussa Sissoko, 6 Yohan Cabaye (yc), 14 Blaise Matuidi; 8 Mathieu Valbuena (11 Antoine Griezmann, 82 mins), 9 Olivier Giroud (19 Paul Pogba, 63 mins), 10 Karim Benzema.

Yohan Cabaye misses final group game against Ecuador after picking up two yellow cards.

FRANCE (v Ecuador): 1 Hugo Lloris; 15 Bacary Sagna, 21 Laurent Koscielny, 5 Mamadou Sakho (4 Raphael Varane, 61 mins), 17 Lucas Digne; 18 Moussa Sissoko, 19 Paul Pogba, 22 Morgan Schneiderlin, 14 Blaise Matuidi (9 Olivier Giroud, 67 mins); 11 Antoine Griezmann (20 Loic Remy, 79 mins), 10 Karim Benzema.

Those on one yellow card are: Patrice Evra, Paul Pogba.

FRANCE (v Nigeria):

1-Hugo Lloris, 2-Mathieu Debuchy, 4-Raphael Varane, 21-Laurent Koscielny, 3-Patrice Evra; 6-Yohan Cabaye; 8-Mathieu Valbuena (Sissoko 90’), 14-Blaise Matuidi, 19-Paul Pogba; 10-Karim Benzema, 9-Olivier Giroud (Griezmann 62’)

Those on one yellow card are: 

Patrice Evra, Paul Pogba, Matuidi

FRANCE (v Germany):

1-Hugo Lloris; 2-Mathieu Debuchy, 4-Raphael Varane, 5-Mamadou Sakho (Koscielny 71'), 3-Patrice Evra; 6-Yohan Cabaye (Remy 73'); 8-Mathieu Valbuena (Giroud 85'), 14-Blaise Matuidi, 19-Paul Pogba; 10-Karim Benzema, 11-Antoine Griezmann