France World Cup Squad 2018: Journey of Les Bleus towards the ultimate prize!
The French national team suffered a terrible setback in their Euro 2016 match against a squad that wasn't even one of the favorites or underdogs.
Didier Deschamps was heavily criticized for the team's lack of success in winning its first national title since the 1998 World Cup.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup title for France was the only answers to all the backlash they received.
France were once again considered to be the favourite, but Deschamps did not want his squad to get complacent because the last time it happened, it led to a major disappointment.
Prior to the 2018 World Cup, Didier Deschamps revealed his 23-man French squad. With great squad depth, France appeared to be the frontrunner.
France World Cup Squad 2018:
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola
Defenders: Djibril Sidibe, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Lucas Hernandez
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Corentin Tolisso, N’Golo Kante, Steven Nzonzi
Forwards: Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Florian Thauvin, Thomas Lemar, Nabil Fekir.
France began its 2018 World Cup campaign on a promising note:
France were drawn in Group C alongside Australia, Denmark, and Peru; by looking at the group, it was presumed France would be the group winners.
France's first World Cup opponents were Australia, whom they defeated 2-1. Next came Peru, against them they registered a narrow 1-0 win; Kylian Mbappe, then 19-year-old, was the scorer of this match.
This made him the youngest player for France national team to score in a World Cup. Two victories were enough to see France qualify for the knockout stage.
In their last match with Denmark, Deschamps rested his first-choice players ahead of the next round. That game with Denmark ended in a draw and France topped the group with seven points.
Knockout Stages journey of France at the 2018 World Cup:
Only three games separated France from their destiny. The players needed to keep their convictions.
They faced the World Cup runners-up from 2014, Lionel Messi's Argentina in the round of 16. France were considered to be the favorite in this match.
But the game would become one of the classic matches of the 2018 World Cup as France won 4-3. The match was dubbed "the classic of Kazan".
With Argentina knocked out, another south american giants, Uruguay, were the next obstacle. Against Uruguay, the match was less energy-sapping as they overcame 2-0, and registered their spot in the semi-final with Belgium.
One match away from reaching a consecutive final in the space of two years. Belgium, who comprised the golden generation, were dubbed the competition's favorite as well.
As the starting whistle blew, both sides looked threatening and had world-class players at their disposal.
But only one could progress to the final, and it was in France's destiny to reach the final when Samuel Umtiti headed the ball from the far post following a corner. That was the only goal of the match as France progressed to the 2018 World Cup final.
One match away from overcoming Euro 2016 heartbreak:
With the final showdown set against Croatia, Les Bleus had the chance to leave behind their 2016 Euro final dismal.
France began the encounter in a impressive way, and took the lead within 18 minutes when Griezmann freekick was turned in by Mandzukic.
But Croatia were quick to answer all the questions coming towards them. Ten minutes later, Perisic gave Croatia solace after Sime Vrsaljko's header back across the goal was intercepted by Inter Milan's striker, who drilled the ball low into the corner.
The Les Bleus were once again in the driving seat when Croatia's goal-scorer was seen handing the ball.
The referee awarded a penalty after VAR review. Griezmann put France ahead with a low kick into the left-hand corner.
Pogba shut his doubters, after collecting the ball from Griezmann, Pogba attempted to shoot.
Although his effort rebounded off a defender, Pogba again took a curling shot as the ball sailed past Subasic, and France certainly appeared to be on the verge of winning their second World Cup.
Then 19-year-old Mbappe ensured the Les Bleus are taking the World Cup home as his 25-yard shot skimmed across the pitch and went past Vida and Subasic, low into the Croatian goal.
Hugo Lloris carelessness saw France paying the price. The Tottenham goalkeeper struggled to elude Mandzukic, but the latter swiftly seized on his error, saving Croatia from humiliation as they reduced the three-goal deficit to two.
With only 30 minutes on the clock, Croatia couldn't conjure anything, and the referee sounded the final whistle.
France have done it, they became the sixth country to win the World Cup twice, and Didier Deschamps became the third manager to win the World Cup both as a player and manager after Mário Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer.
The 4-2 scoreline in the final was the highest World Cup final score since 1966 and the highest in regular time since 1958.
France 2018 World Cup: Overall Stats
|Top scorer||Griezmann/Mbappe (4)|
|Top assists||Griezmann/ Hernandez (2)|