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France squad for World Cup final: Roster, key players, lineup and likely formation vs Argentina

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France are on the verge of making World Cup history.

They take on Argentina at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Sunday looking to become the first team in 60 years (since Brazil in 1962) to retain the world crown with back-to-back wins.

But Didier Deschamps has some problems on the eve of the final, not least the illness bug going round his squad, but selection dilemmas in central defence and midfield; oh, and the fact his players will have to keep quiet the irrepressible Lionel Messi.

The Sporting News has the low-down on the France team news and their likely lineup versus Argentina as the world prepares to watch on.

MORE: Why Mbappe needs to win the World Cup more desperately than Messi

France World Cup roster

France have maintained the same shape in all but one of their matches at the World Cup, using a 4-2-3-1 formation that fits in plenty of their best attacking stars. The only exception was their final group game against Tunisia where Deschamps opted to rest nine players, with qualification to the last 16 secured by that stage.

In all other other games, Olivier Giroud has led the line with Antoine Griezmann playing in the attacking midfielder role directly behind him. Kylian Mbappe is a constant menace down the left flank, while Ousmane Dembele has been almost ever-present on the right wing. Aurelien Tchouameni has started every game in midfield, either alongside Adrien Rabiot or Youssouf Fofana.

Dayot Upamecano and Raphael Varane have become the centre-back partnership of choice, though Ibrahima Konate has occasionally come in alongside the Manchester United man. 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 largely unchanged, with Deschamps clearly happy with what he’s seen so far.

France key players vs Argentina

Kylian Mbappe

There is absolutely no doubt Mbappe will play a huge part in the final against Argentina.

He was instrumental four years ago, as a 19-year-old, as France swatted aside Croatia 4-2 in Moscow to lift their first World Cup in 20 years. Now 23 and one of the mainstays of Deschamps’ attack, Mbappe has thrilled with his performances in Qatar.

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. His five goals so far in the tournament put him level with Lionel Messi in the Golden Boot race, although Mbappe has failed to net in the past two matches, drawing blanks against England and Morocco.

What that England quartefinal showed, with Kyle Walker shackling Mbappe, is that Argentina may have the defensive tools to keep him quiet as well. Gonzalo Montiel missed the semifinal win over Croatia due to suspension, but could well come back into the side to take on Mbappe.

Antoine Griezmann

After playing a key role in France’s 2018 triumph, Griezmann hasn’t had a particularly happy time in club football. His move to Barcelona didn’t really come off 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.

And despite not scoring any goals in this tournament so far, he has three assists to his name — including two in the quarterfinal victory over England — and has been exceptional in his deeper-lying role, with his vision, passing and movement helping Les Bleus to unlock defences.

The 4-2-3-1 shape sacrifices an extra player deeper in the midfield, but Griezmann is proving very useful in the No.10 role between the lines; his link-up play with Giroud and Mbappe in particular has been some of the best in the tournament.

Raphael Varane

The Manchester United defender feared that he would play no part in this tournament when he hobbled off with a knee injury during a 1-1 draw at Chelsea in the Premier League towards the end of October.

But the 29-year-old – who has been no stranger to the treatment table during his time at Old Trafford – showed remarkable powers of recovery to get himself fit again. He’s been able to play a full part in this World Cup, starting every match and helping France concede just four goals in five games.

France predicted lineup vs. Argentina

The French camp is battling illness at the very worst time right now, after a bout of so-called ‘camel flu’ struck the squad out in Doha. Deschamps said he has taken “all necessary precautions” to prevent the virus from spreading further.

But Rabiot, Upamecano and Kingsley Coman missed the semifinal victory over Morocco, with another five players – including Varane and Konate – now thought to be affected.

Deschamps will be hoping he can field his strongest side, which may include Rabiot and Upamecano if they’re healthy enough. Fofana and Konate may well drop to the bench. Latest reports from France indicate no player will be ruled out through illness though.

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.

MORE: The France players who could miss World Cup final through illness

France vs Argentina head to head

These two nations have quite a history against each other, as two of footballing’s traditional international superpowers down the years, sharing four World Cup titles (two each).

They’ve only met three times in the World Cup, however, way back in the first ever tournament in 1930 when Argentina came out on top. La Albiceleste again overcame France in 1978 en route to the trophy, while France won the last 16 clash between the two nations four years ago.

Overall, Argentina have the edge in the contest, winning six of the 12 past meetings, with three France wins and three draws.

Date Result Competition
July 15, 1930 France 0 Argentina 1 World Cup
June 3, 1965 France 0 Argentina 0 Friendly
Jan 8, 1971 Argentina 3 France 4 Friendly
Jan 12, 1971 Argentina 2 France 0 Friendly
June 25, 1972 Argentina 0 France 0 Independence
May 18, 1974 France 0 Argentina 1 Friendly
June 26, 1977 Argentina 0 France 0 Friendly
June 6, 1978 Argentina 2 France 1 World Cup
Mar 26, 1986 France 2 Argentina Friendly
Feb 7, 2007 France 0 Argentina 1 Friendly
Feb 11, 2009 France 0 Argentina 2 Friendly
June 30, 2018 France 4 Argentina 3 World Cup

France squad at World Cup 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) 35 144 450 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 12 457 1 2
DEF 24 Ibrahima Konate Liverpool (ENG) 23 6 285 0 0
DEF 5 Jules Kounde Barcelona (SPA) 23 17 271 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 92 408 0 0
DEF 13 Youssouf Fofana Monaco (FRA) 23 7 200 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 20 503 1 0
MID 15 Jordan Veretout Marseille (FRA) 29 6 63 0 0
FWD 11 Ousmane Dembele Barcelona (FRA) 25 34 397 2 1
FWD 20 Kingsley Coman Bayern Munich (GER) 26 45 116 0 0
FWD  9 Olivier Giroud AC Milan (ITA) 36 119 383 4 0
FWD 7 Antoine Griezmann Atletico Madrid (SPA) 31 116 467 0 3
FWD 10 Kylian Mbappe PSG (FRA) 23 65 477 5 2
FWD 26 Marcus Thuram Bor. M’Gladbach (GER) 25 8 67 0 0
FWD 12 Randal Kolo Muani Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 23 4 101 1 0


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