World Cup

World Cup 2018 – Team Analysis – France

We continue our Group C team previews with 1998 World Cup winners France, who will be making their 15th appearance at the finals this summer.

With the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane at his disposal, Didier Deschamps is tasked with turning one of international football’s most talented squads into a tournament-winning team.

Their group opponents, while no pushovers, should in theory be no obstacle in progression to the knockout stages: all three rivals had to come through play-offs to secure their passage to Russia.

Australia are first up for France in Kazan on Saturday May 16, before an encounter with Peru in Ekaterinburg on Thursday May 21. The French end their group campaign with a fixture against Denmark in Moscow on Tuesday May 26.

Road to Qualification

A group containing the Netherlands, Sweden and Bulgaria looked like one of the toughest draws in Europe, but it was embarrassing results against two minnows that threatened to derail France’s qualification bid.

The first stumble came in France’s opening group fixture in Barysaw, where Deschamps’ troops lumbered to a 0-0 draw against hosts Belarus. A starting XI that included seven Premier League-based players looked bereft of ideas before the introduction of Dimitri Payet, who then inspired the French to a 4-1 victory in their second match against Bulgaria.

Victories over the Netherlands, Sweden and Luxembourg lifted France to the top of Group A, before a stoppage-time winner from Ola Toivonen in the return trip to Sweden briefly catapulted the hosts into first place.

France were back on top after their very next match, in what was arguably their most impressive display of the qualifying campaign. Goals from Griezmann, Thomas Lemar (2) and Mbappe helped the French see off the Netherlands 4-0, but an awful result was to follow just three days later.

A 0-0 home draw against Luxembourg, then ranked 136th in the world, was the source of great humiliation, with a team containing Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann, Lemar and Olivier Giroud unable to break down a side France hadn’t failed to beat in over 100 years.

That result was put into perspective by Sweden’s subsequent 8-0 thrashing of the same opposition, but France finally saw off the Scandinavians’ challenge for top spot with back-to-back victories over Belarus and Bulgaria in their last two group fixtures.

Of the nine European teams who qualified as group winners, only Iceland (16) scored fewer goals than France (18). Seven of the 13 qualifiers from Europe had better defensive records than France, meanwhile, who conceded six goals. The Netherlands were the only team in France’s group to fail to score against them, with even Luxembourg and Belarus breaching the French defence.

Deschamps has generally favoured a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 in qualification, with a preference for hard-working midfielders in the centre and pacey wingers flanking a target man up front.

Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi are possible starters in the engine room, though Corentin Tolisso has a fair claim to one of those midfield spots.

Griezmann is a definite starter either wide right or as a second striker, with Giroud and Mbappe perhaps at the front of the queue to join him. Lemar, Ousmane Dembele and Nabil Fekir are hardly inferior options in the attacking positions, however.

Most starts: Antoine Griezmann (10), Hugo Lloris, Djibril Sidibe (9), Raphael Varane, Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud (7), Samuel Umtiti, N’Golo Kante (5)

Most goals: Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud (4), Paul Pogba, Thomas Lemar (2)

Most assists: Antoine Griezmann (4), Djibril Sidibe (3)

Injury keeps Laurent Koscielny (who made eight appearances in qualification) and Dimitri Payet (who scored two goals and supplied two assists) out of the 23-man World Cup squad.

Since qualifying for the World Cup in October, France have contested six friendlies: wins over Wales, Russia, the Republic of Ireland and Italy were punctuated by a 3-2 defeat to Colombia (the French having surrendered a two-goal lead) and a 2-2 draw with Germany.

The Key Targets

No France player made more starts, scored more goals or supplied more assists in qualifying than Antoine Griezmann. Priced at £10.0m in McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy, he is a cheaper forward option than the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.0m) and Lionel Messi (£12.0m), though Griezmann scored fewer qualifying goals (four) than any premium forward listed at £9.5m+.

In 295 minutes of international friendly action since November, Griezmann has scored on two further occasions – including a penalty in the 3-1 win over Italy on 1 June. Griezmann started as the focal point of the French attack in that victory over the Italians, rather than in his usual withdrawn position.

The Atletico Madrid star scored 19 league goals for his club in 2017/18, the fifth successive season in which he has registered at least 16 La Liga goals.

Olivier Giroud (£9.0m) is a cheaper option in the French forward line. Despite Deschamps having a wealth of attacking options at his disposal, Giroud is the only real out-and-out striker in his squad, with Alexandre Lacazette omitted from the 23-man party.

Though Giroud’s starts aren’t quite as assured as Griezmann’s, Deschamps will surely play the Chelsea centre-forward if he sticks with his usual formula of fielding a target-man in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3.

The former Arsenal striker has three goals in five friendly appearances since November – Giroud was on target in France’s 2-0 win over Ireland on 28 May – to add to his four goals scored during qualification.

Though he made only two starts in qualification, Kylian Mbappe (£9.0m) is arguably France’s form player. The 19-year-old prodigy has two goals and five assists to his name in the national side’s six friendlies contested over the last seven months.

On loan from Monaco at Paris Saint-Germain this season, Mbappe has scored 13 goals in 27 Ligue I appearances.

Paul Pogba (£9.0m) has thrilled and frustrated both Manchester United fans and Fantasy managers alike in an up-and-down season at Old Trafford, but his 5.1 points per match was a better Fantasy Premier League average than any United outfielder in 2017/18.

The former Juventus midfielder scored six goals and supplied 13 assists for United in the league this season, but could only score on two occasions during World Cup qualification. Pogba has since scored one goal and registered an assist in three friendly appearances for the national team, but was booed off by French supporters in the victory over Italy.

Raphael Varane (£6.0m) and Samuel Umtiti (£6.0m), rivals at Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, look probable starters at centre-back and are France’s two most expensive defensive options. With only four international goals between them (Varane indeed has scored only one La Liga goal in six seasons) and clean sheets not a certainty even against inferior opposition, the outlay is difficult to justify – particularly when better value lies elsewhere (see below).

The Long Shots

Djibril Sidibe (£5.5m) is the joint-cheapest France defender McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy game and could be a steal at that price. The Monaco full-back made more appearances (nine) and kept more clean sheets (six) than any other French defender in qualification, while also registering three assists.

Sidibe faces competition for the right-back slot from the versatile Benjamin Pavard (not yet on McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy), but Sidibe’s greater offensive threat may get him the nod for at least the group matches in which France’s opposition will likely sit deep.

The 25-year-old defender also supplied seven assists for Monaco in Ligue I this season.

The sheer number of options available to Deschamps means that gifted attacking midfielders such as Thomas Lemar and Nabil Fekir (both 8.0m and listed as forwards) may be reduced to making brief substitute appearances, but these two talents in particular should be on Fantasy managers’ watchlists if injury, suspension or loss of form forces the France manager into a change up top.

Upcoming Friendlies

None

Further Analysis

Our comprehensive World Cup guide can be found here.

Group A Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay

Group BIran, Morocco, Portugal, Spain

Group CAustralia, Peru, France, Denmark

Group DArgentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

Group EBrazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Serbia

Group FMexico, Germany, Sweden, South Korea

Group GBelgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Group HSenegal, Japan, Poland, Colombia

Our editor’s Fantasy World Cup tips as told to Proper Sport

FANTASY ITEAM

Fantasy Football Scout is supporting Fantasy iTeam, a free World Cup game available on a number of mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPodTouch and Android. We have an official Fantasy Football Scout League open to UK users only, with a £1000 of Amazon vouchers to give out, split between the top three performers. There’s also the small matter of £10k worth of prizes available in the main competitions: Overall World Championship and Manager of the Gameround.

Click here for details and here to sign up.

Our League name is Fantasy Football Scout and the pin is 1887.

Please note, users must be over 18 and based in the UK to join our league.

Posted by

593 Comments Post a Comment
  1. MGD
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Playing on a different site aswell and this is my team so far:

      Navas
      Danilo - Hummels - Vertongen
      Sane - Willian - Iniesta - Dembele
      Griezman - Mbappe - Jesus

      This is a bit different, you get points for winning games and minus for losing etc so players from top teams is important. And no subs

      Thoughts? 🙂

      1. FFFrøg⭐️
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 14 days ago

        One of Dembele, Griezmann and Mbappe is probably unlikely to start.

        1. MGD
            1 month, 14 days ago

            I think im most worried about Mbappe, but Dembele and Griezmann is nailed on, no?

            1. FFFrøg⭐️
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Dembele actually most likely to miss out imo.

              1. MGD
                  1 month, 14 days ago

                  Okay, cheers.
                  He was cheap and in this game you get alot of points just starting and winning the match.

          • AndyCook
              1 month, 13 days ago

              Willian a risky pick. If Neymar is fit then he should miss out

            • SM001
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Sane ???

            • Optimus.
                1 month, 14 days ago

                So Ryan Sessegnon is a boyhood Liverpool supporter..

                Interesting.

                1. Gregor
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • Has Moderation Rights
                  1 month, 14 days ago

                  That is interesting, I’m sure he was veering towards Spurs though last summer as he wanted to stay in London..

                  1. Optimus.
                      1 month, 14 days ago

                      Man Utd supposedly are in for him

                      1. Fantasy Gold
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 14 days ago

                        Lets hope he doesn’t go to Man Utd.

                        Mourinho will destroy his career.

                      2. Gregor
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • Has Moderation Rights
                        1 month, 14 days ago

                        I think he’ll want to stay at Fulham and test himself every week in the prem, hard to see them turning down £50m though.

                  2. Norman Conquest
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 14 days ago

                    that just means he will sleep in his liverpool jammies while playing for spurs

                    1. Optimus.
                        1 month, 14 days ago

                        😉 🙂

                  3. The Wizard of Ozil
                      1 month, 14 days ago

                      Hi guys, anyone know why Rodriguez for Switzerland isn't available in dream team fc game?

                      1. Norman Conquest
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 14 days ago

                        there is only 8 swiss players listed in total

                        very strange

                        1. The Wizard of Ozil
                            1 month, 14 days ago

                            Very odd isn't it

                            1. Norman Conquest
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              1 month, 14 days ago

                              yea i'm glad i am not playing that one

                              1. G-Whizz
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • Has Moderation Rights
                                1 month, 14 days ago

                                Addicted to them I'm afraid 🙁

                        2. G-Whizz
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • Has Moderation Rights
                          1 month, 14 days ago

                          Have all the teams announced their official squad for the WC? That's the only thing I can think of and they're waiting to update their database with the relevant players?
                          Or it could be that the game is just as shite as it has always been 😆

                      2. Witty Pun: The Casual
                          1 month, 14 days ago

                          I'm quite disgusted with the lack of commitment from FFS. Four whole pages and no new article? How sad to see standards dropping this far.

                          1. Syd.
                              1 month, 14 days ago

                              It is closed season and nothing is happening

                              1. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                  1 month, 14 days ago

                                  I'm joking Syd 😉
                                  I was refferring to the strangely high quality and effort they're still putting in in the offseason

                              2. Mark
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • Has Moderation Rights
                                1 month, 14 days ago

                                Notes are on the way. Three articles planned today.

                                1. asquishypotato
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  1 month, 14 days ago

                                  Fair play with the effort on the off season!

                                2. FPL Virgin
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  1 month, 14 days ago

                                  Anything on the best strategy for playing the World Cup game? Block defending seems to be a bit of a buzzword at the moment.

                                  1. Mark
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    • Has Moderation Rights
                                    1 month, 14 days ago

                                    Hopefully we will get some articles out on strategy when the game launches.

                                    1. FPL Virgin
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      1 month, 14 days ago

                                      Great stuff. Thanks, Mark.

                            • FPL Virgin
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              1 month, 14 days ago

                              Who's your gameweek 1 captain then?

                              https://mobile.twitter.com/AnfieldExpress/status/1003209630452011008/photo/1

                              Salah for me if Klopp stays. No idea how Auba will be under the new manager.

                              1. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                  1 month, 14 days ago

                                  Jesus Christ we don't even know the fixtures yet.

                                  1. FPL Virgin
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    1 month, 14 days ago

                                    They've been leaked. Click on the link.

                                    1. Syd.
                                        1 month, 14 days ago

                                        And you believe it is genuine?

                                        There will be plenty of time to discuss this when they are released

                                        1. FPL Virgin
                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                          1 month, 14 days ago

                                          I think it's genuine, yes.

                                  2. Gregor
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    • Has Moderation Rights
                                    1 month, 14 days ago

                                    Ha, yeah think it would have to be Salah on that basis then presuming he was fit and ready to go!

                                    Really can’t fathom Klopp going anywhere.

                                    1. Gregor
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      • Has Moderation Rights
                                      1 month, 14 days ago

                                      That said, Bournemouth and Southampton should surely rotate home and away so I don’t think it’s legit!

                                    2. FPL Virgin
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      1 month, 14 days ago

                                      Real Madrid's number 1 target apparently.

                                      1. Gregor
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        • Has Moderation Rights
                                        1 month, 14 days ago

                                        Even so, he’s not known for walking away while he’s got more to give, he’s busy getting his team ready for next season and he’s won nothing yet, just can’t see it.

                                        1. FPL Virgin
                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                          1 month, 14 days ago

                                          I guess. The bright lights of Real Madrid could lure anyone, thou.

                                          1. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                              1 month, 14 days ago

                                              Except Poch it appears

                                    3. Giggs Boson
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      1 month, 14 days ago

                                      Ronaldo

                                      1. Syd.
                                          1 month, 14 days ago

                                          When is he signing?

                                          1. Giggs Boson
                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                            1 month, 14 days ago

                                            Over a decade ago. Not long now.

                                      2. Norman Conquest
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        1 month, 14 days ago

                                        verratti or bale for me

                                    4. RUUD!
                                        1 month, 14 days ago

                                        I know most on here won’t play Sun Dream Team but you get 50 mill budget for 11 players. Neymar priced 7.5 and Jesus 3.5. Both classed as forwards is it daft goin Neymar?

                                        1. IrishRed
                                            1 month, 14 days ago

                                            Yes

                                          • FPL Virgin
                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                            1 month, 14 days ago

                                            I support Liverpool. I could never play anything made by the Sun.

                                            1. RUUD!
                                                1 month, 14 days ago

                                                Doesn’t really answer the question though

                                            2. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                                1 month, 14 days ago

                                                Absolutely daft

                                              • G-Whizz
                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                • Has Moderation Rights
                                                1 month, 14 days ago

                                                Take the £3.5m and run 😆

                                            3. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
                                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                              1 month, 14 days ago

                                              if someone loses weight and you congratulate them, is this confirmation that you thought they were fat?

                                              1. Optimus.
                                                  1 month, 14 days ago

                                                  Yes

                                                • Syd.
                                                    1 month, 14 days ago

                                                    All depends how much weight they have lost

                                                  • FPL Virgin
                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                    1 month, 14 days ago

                                                    Has Mrs. Epic Fail snapped at you?

                                                    1. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
                                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                      1 month, 14 days ago

                                                      Always.

                                                  • 32chickens
                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                    1 month, 14 days ago

                                                    Prefaced by ' you were a right porker ' i would say yes

                                                • Brosstan
                                                    1 month, 14 days ago

                                                    Im playing a game where defenders dont get points for scoring goals. They do get points for assists though. Surely just get the cheapest nailed options from whatever team I think will get cleans? Players like Marcelo and Kimmich seem overpriced in this game.

                                                    1. G-Whizz
                                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                      • Has Moderation Rights
                                                      1 month, 14 days ago

                                                      Get rid.
                                                      Yesterday I played a one-off international fantasy game for the England v Nigeria match and had Cahill. Imagine if that didn't count "Oh sorry, defenders don't get points for goals" c'mon I mean like wtf? Yet they get points for assists? Whoever thought of those rules needs shooting...

                                                      1. Brosstan
                                                          1 month, 13 days ago

                                                          I honestly suspect its just an oversight in the rules. It doesnt make any sense. Goalkeepers get points for scoring but defenders dont 😆 They have a support email but I havent received a reply yet. The game seems better than the McDonalds game otherwise tbh, its just something that needs to be taken into account if they really dont get points for goals.

                                                          1. G-Whizz
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            • Has Moderation Rights
                                                            1 month, 13 days ago

                                                            Which platform?

                                                            1. Brosstan
                                                                1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                Its a Norwegian game run by the broadcaster. Probably open for anyone but its all in norwegian. https://vm-manager.nrk.no/how-to-play

                                                                1. G-Whizz
                                                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                  • Has Moderation Rights
                                                                  1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                  Cheers! I think I know someone Norwegian...

                                                                2. Niemi
                                                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                  • Has Moderation Rights
                                                                  1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                  Definitely an oversight, most likely they get 6 points for a goal.

                                                      2. Giggs Boson
                                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                        1 month, 14 days ago

                                                        Not heard anyone mention Suarez as a FF option. Plays Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

                                                        He could be top scorer by the end of the group stages - provided he doesn't get hungry for man flesh.

                                                        1. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                                            1 month, 14 days ago

                                                            I like Cavani more though
                                                            And I'm not too fussed about trying hard in this one, just want to pick players I like and hopefully do well

                                                          • Norman Conquest
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            1 month, 14 days ago

                                                            i was waiting to see prices first wanted suarez or cavani

                                                          • FFFrøg⭐️
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            1 month, 14 days ago

                                                            Suarez on pens with more assists but Cavani scored more recently. One of those calls that I know I’ll get wrong so might just avoid, looking at the range of other striker options.

                                                            1. FFFrøg⭐️
                                                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                              1 month, 14 days ago

                                                              They haven’t been that impressive attackingly of late, I’m not averse to tripling up on their defense though.

                                                              1. FFFrøg⭐️
                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                1 month, 14 days ago

                                                                Tabarez has changed the system to make it more defensively solid, and focus more on Cavani and Suarez playing as a two up top. This may well mean they share goals, whereas a lone striker like Werner or Kaku is more likely to score more, especially looking at captainable 1 match hauls.

                                                        2. FPL Virgin
                                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                          1 month, 14 days ago

                                                          Planning my strategy for TFF World Cup. For the games in the group stages, a Doosra ticker and G-Whizz clean sheets odds would be very helpful.

                                                          1. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            1 month, 13 days ago

                                                            But if it's not Doosra's or G-Whizz's then it won't be helpful?

                                                          2. G-Whizz
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            • Has Moderation Rights
                                                            1 month, 13 days ago

                                                            You're not going to get a DS stat for the WC games but the clean sheet odds post is in the middle of being compiled as we speak and I will post that by the end of the week 🙂

                                                        3. Stoichkov#8
                                                            1 month, 13 days ago

                                                            What is your tactic in FiT as there is a rule that you can swap players during a GW?
                                                            Will you change a big hitter that way? If yes who? Or maybe some other idea to navigate this?

                                                          • The Royal Robin
                                                              1 month, 13 days ago

                                                              Is the McDonalds game the only one worth playing or?

                                                              1. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                If you win one then it's worth playing.

                                                                1. The Royal Robin
                                                                    1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                    Sure. But are there any other credible platforms to play the game on?

                                                                    😐

                                                              2. FFFrøg⭐️
                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                9bf5c352

                                                                FFScout Match Predictor league on the official FIFA website for those who fancy it!

                                                              3. Scotty B
                                                                  1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                  Who would you say is most likely to get furthest in the world cup?

                                                                  A Colombia
                                                                  B Croatia
                                                                  C Poland

                                                                  1. Syd.
                                                                      1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                      GAWA

                                                                    • The Royal Robin
                                                                        1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                        I reckon they're all pretty square, but if I had to choose... Probably C.

                                                                      • Witty Pun: The Casual
                                                                          1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                          I can't wait for downvotes.

                                                                        • Brosstan
                                                                            1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                            A

                                                                          • FFFrøg⭐️
                                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                            1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                            A Quarter finals
                                                                            B and C Last 16

                                                                        • The Royal Robin
                                                                            1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                            Brighton have made a second bid for Liam Moore. If he goes he might be worth considering. Always bags a few from set pieces and is a solid defender.

                                                                            1. Mark
                                                                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                              • Has Moderation Rights
                                                                              1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                              Yep, I think his stats have been very impressive since he left Leicester. That would be another CB signing having already made one. I wonder if they're anticipating on losing Dunk.

                                                                          • Syd.
                                                                              1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                              Some guy put a flyer for Slimming World through the letterbox about an hour ago and he has just come back and put another one through

                                                                              Either he thinks I am a porker or he hasn't a great memory

                                                                              1. badgerboy
                                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                1 month, 13 days ago

                                                                                Or he thinks you've got a 'black hole' letter flap and he can shove all his fliers in there and knock off for the day.

                                                                            • New Post