France announced their 23-man squad for the World Cup on Thursday, and notable in their absences were Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette. The forward line instead consists of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar, Nabil Fekir, Florian Thauvin and Ousmane Dembele. The sheer volume available to Didier Deschamps was always going to throw up some high-profile casualties, but these absences are surprising nevertheless. Other notable players to miss the cut include Dimitri Payet, Aymeric Laporte, Kingsley Coman, Wissam Ben Yedder, Adrien Rabiot, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Karim Benzema and Kevin Gameiro.
Martial was under-utilised by Jose Mourinho at Manchester United last season, but managed nine Premier League goals despite not playing too much. He had the worst year possible just before the World Cup, and it is a pity to see someone of his talent miss out. The attacker also picked up a knee injury recently, and is a doubt for United’s FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday.
Lacazette moved to Arsenal in the summer, and took a while to get going. He ended the season really strongly, and is building a really strong partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who moved to The Emirates in January. In all, the Frenchman scored 17 goals in all competitions but it was not enough. If he had stayed at Lyon for another year and been the main man, one wonders if things would have been different. Lacazette netted 37 times for the Ligue 1 outfit in the 2016/17 campaign, before making the move west. This is especially taking into consideration the fact that Fekir made the cut. The Lyon striker scored 23 times in all competitions last season.
Deschamps said after the announcement, as quoted here by Metro, “I have had these two players in several situations, as starters and substitutes. I have a complete analysis based on what they have shown me and the role they could have in the squad at the World Cup. Alex was injured in March, Anthony was back.
There is especially strong competition. I consider Giroud, Griezmann, Mbappe and Fekir as axial strikers, even if they can play in other positions. Just watch Mbappe’s performance in this position against Russia recently. I think there is no point in accumulating multiple players in the same position.”
There are a total of five Premier League players in the Les Blues squad travelling to Russia. Chelsea have two representatives in Giroud and N’Golo Kante, while newly-crowned champions Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have one each in Benjamin Mendy, Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba respectively.
The six-man standby list is full of players playing in England. Along with Martial and Lacazette, there is Crystal Palace’s Mamadou Sakho, Spurs’ Moussa Sissoko and Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma.
France will be looking to win the fourth World Cup in their history, and they certainly have the firepower to do it. The squad is full of attacking young talents who are yet to shine on the international stage, but have plenty of experience and success at club-level.
Rodney is an online freelance content writer and a big fan of Football games. These days he is associated with Box Office Events who is the authorized dealer of cheap ootball tickets in UK. To buy football tickets do visit Box Office Events website.