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France squad for World Cup 2022 semifinal: Roster, key players, lineup and likely formation for knockout clash with Morocco

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France have shaken off the supposed World Cup winners curse to reach the semifinals for a second straight tournament, and will now be looking to achieve back-to-back tournament wins – something that hasn’t been achieved for 60 years.

They have also defied a mounting injury toll that robbed them of some of their best players in the tournament to play some excellent football, with their attack in particular being widely praised by fans and pundits.

Kylian Mbappe currently leads the Golden Boots race with five goals, whilst Olivier Giroud broke the all-time French goalscoring record and now has 53 international goals.

They defeated England in a tight quarterfinal and now face the fairytale of this World Cup, Morocco, who despite being doubted throughout the tournament, will offer a very stern test for Les Bleus.

MORE: France vs Morocco prediction, odds, betting tips and best bets

France World Cup roster

France have maintained the same shape in all but one of their matches at the World Cup, operating in a 4-2-3-1 formation that fits in all of the attacking firepower France possess. The only exception was their final group game against Tunisia where Didier Deschamps opted to rest nine players as they already had qualification secured.

In all other other games, Olivier Giroud leads the line with Antoine Griezmann playing in the attacking midfielder role directly behind him. Kylian Mbappe is a constant menace down the left flank, whilst Ousmane Dembele has been almost ever-present on the right wing. Aurelian Tchoumaeni has started every game in midfield, most often alongside Adrien Rabiot as the pair have formed an unlikely yet strong partnership.

Dayot Upamecano and Raphael Varane have become the centre-back partnership of choice, though Ibrahima Konate has started two games in the tournament, whilst Jules Kounde has ousted Benjamin Pavard from the right-back slot. Lucas Hernandez ruptured his achilles in the opening match of the tournament, which has meant his brother Theo has taken his place at left-back.

Their starting lineups in their knockout matches have remained unchanged, which suggests Deschamps believes he has stumbled onto a winning formula.

France key players vs Morocco

Kylian Mbappe

After having a breakout tournament in 2018, Kylian Mbappe is once again one of the most dangerous players at the World Cup.

A goal and assist against Australia, two goals against Denmark and then a herculean all-round performance in their Round of 16 win over Poland where he got two goals and an assist to lead France to a 3-1 win.

He has pace and power, supreme dribbling skills and also is one of the best finishers in the world, making him a lethal threat to any defenders. It is almost impossible to stop the winger, who many believe will become the best player in the world for the next decade.

Morocco’s defence has been brilliant this tournament, having only conceded one goal, and they will also have the quality of Achraf Hakimi to try and keep him quiet. But even if Mbappe doesn’t trouble the scorers list, his presence and impact on the game in other ways helps open up the game for the French attackers, meaning it is highly likely that Morocco’s clean-sheet streak will be broken.

Antoine Griezmann

After playing a key role in France’s 2018 triumph, it has been a difficult few years in clubland for Antoine Griezmann, as his move to Barcelona failed to spark and he was recently in a peculiar situation with current club Atletico Madrid as they refused to play him for many minutes in fear of triggering an expensive transfer clause in his contract.

Many thought he wouldn’t be near the starting side, but injury to Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema meant Griezmann was thrust into the spotlight, but he has had a renaissance in Qatar.

Despite not scoring any goals, he has three assists to his name — including two in the quarterfinal victory over England — and has been remarkable in his deeper-lying role, with his vision, passing and movement taking the French attack to another level and causing havoc for opposition midfields and defences.

The 4-2-3-1 is not a shape seen too often in the big sides of football, as many would rather have an extra man deeper in the midfield, but Griezmann is showing that an attacking midfielder can still be used to devastating effect, and his link-up play with Giroud and Mbappe in particular has been some of the best in the tournament.

If Morocco are to win, they have to stop Griezmann, but given the form he is in, that may not be possible.

Aurelian Tchouameni

Many were writing off France’s chances of retaining the World Cup when it emerged that key midfielders from their 2018 campaign N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba would miss the World Cup through injury. There was much debate as to who would take those starting spots, with Aurelian Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot eventually getting the nod for the opening game against Australia.

And whilst Rabiot has surprised many by putting in solid performances, it is the young Tchouameni who has really stood out in Qatar. Starting in every game so far, not only did he score the opening goal against England, but he has put in superb all-round performances in the engine room, whether it be distributing the ball effectively to the French attackers or mopping up loose balls to protect the defence.

Whilst everyone knows of his quality — playing for Real Madrid suggests that he is no slouch — it is his performances in a midfield that is often outnumbered that has been so impressive. Though there are times he shows his inexperience (such as conceding a penalty to England), his performances have been widely superb.

There is concern that he could be a doubt for the semifinal though, as he missed France’s most recent training session at the time of writing.

France predicted lineup vs Morocco

Despite Tchouameni and starting centre-back Upamecano missing training recently, we are going to predict that France will stick with an unchanged lineup for their semifinal against Morocco.

This means Hugo Lloris will captain the side from goalkeeper and that the awesome foursome in attack of Mbappe, Giroud, Dembele and Griezmann will all start once again.

If there are to be changes in defence or midfield, expect Ibrahima Konate to deputise in defence, and Eduardo Camavinga or Matteo Guendouzi to step into the crucial midfield spot.

Predicted lineup: (4-3-3, right to left): 1. Lloris (GK) — 5. Kounde, 4. Varane, 18. Upamecano, 22. T. Hernandez — 8. Tchouameni, 7. Griezmann, 14. Rabiot — 11. Dembele, 9. Giroud, 10. Mbappe

France vs Morocco head to head

These two nations have quite a history but haven’t faced off since 2007 when they drew 2-2 in a friendly. 

France have generally dominated this fixture but Morocco have rarely been blown off the park with another tight contest expected at the 2022 World Cup.

The two teams have never previously faced off at the tournament. 

Date Result Competition
Feb 5, 1988 France 2 Morocco 1 Friendly
May 29, 1998 Morocco 2 France 2
(pens 5-6)
King Hassan II
Tournament
Jan 20, 1999 France 1 Morocco 0 Friendly
June 6, 2000 Morocco 1 France 5 Friendly
Nov 16, 2007 France 2 Morocco 2 Friendly

France squad at WC 2022

Position No. Player Club Age Caps WC Minutes WC Goals WC Assists
GK 23 Alphonse Areola West Ham (ENG) 29 5 0 0 0
GK 1 Hugo Lloris Tottenham (ENG) 35 143 360 0 0
GK 16 Steve Mandanda Rennes (FRA) 37 35 90 0 0
DEF 3 Axel Disasi Monaco (FRA) 24 2 90 0 0
DEF 21 Lucas Hernandez* Bayern Munich (FRA) 26 33 13 0 0
DEF 22 Theo Hernandez AC Milan (ITA) 25 11 347 0 2
DEF 24 Ibrahima Konate Liverpool (ENG) 23 5 195 0 0
DEF 5 Jules Kounde Barcelona (SPA) 23 16 271 0 0
DEF 2 Benjamin Pavard Bayern Munich (GER) 26 47 89 0 0
DEF 17 William Saliba Arsenal (ENG) 21 8 27 0 0
DEF 18 Dayot Upamecano Bayern Munich (GER) 23 11 360 0 0
DEF 4 Raphael Varane Manchester United (ENG) 29 91 318 0 0
DEF 13 Youssouf Fofana Monaco (FRA) 23 6 110 0 0
MID 25 Eduardo Camavinga Real Madrid (SPA) 19 5 90 0 0
MID 6 Matteo Guendouzi Marseille (FRA) 23 7 79 0 0
MID 14 Adrien Rabiot Juventus (ITA) 27 34 387 1 1
MID 8 Aurelien Tchouameni Real Madrid (SPA) 22 19 413 1 0
MID 15 Jordan Veretout Marseille (FRA) 29 6 63 0 0
FWD 11 Ousmane Dembele Barcelona (FRA) 25 33 318 2 1
FWD 20 Kingsley Coman Bayern Munich (GER) 26 45 116 0 0
FWD  9 Olivier Giroud AC Milan (ITA) 36 118 318 4 0
FWD 7 Antoine Griezmann Atletico Madrid (SPA) 31 115 377 0 3
FWD 10 Kylian Mbappe PSG (FRA) 23 64 387 5 2
FWD 26 Marcus Thuram Bor. M’Gladbach (GER) 25 7 42 0 0
FWD 12 Randal Kolo Muani Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 23 3 90 0 0


Credit: sportingnews.com

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