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France 2022 World Cup Squad and Team Profile

Defending champions France announced their 26-man squad list for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with injuries plaguing their squad. In this article, check out the France FIFA World Cup 2022 squad, fixtures, lineups and team analysis.

Last updated: 14.11.2022

Defending champions France announced their 26-man squad list for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with injuries plaguing their squad yet still able to field the finest players on the pitch in the tournament. Head coach Didier Deschamps will feel this is the best they could have taken to the tournament with so many issues circling the squad. In Qatar, France aims to become only the third side to successfully defend the World Cup try and win it for the third time in their history.



France was one of the four European teams that participated at the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and have appeared in 15 FIFA World Cups, tied for the sixth most of any country in the competition history. They have lifted the World Cup trophy twice, first in 1998 and then in the last edition in 2018. Les Blues did not qualify for five editions in the World Cup but has been regulars since they tasted their first success 24 years back. In the middle they reached the final of the 2006 World Cup in Germany defeated by Italy in the penalty shootout, a match remembered for Zinedine Zidane’s head-butt on Marco Materazzi. The 1998 class that won against Brazil contained Zidane himself, Fabien Barthez, Lillian Thuram, Marcel Desaily and Didier Deschamps. The latter, of course, went on to lift the trophy again in 2018 as a manager this time becoming only the third person in history after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer to lift the World Cup as a player and a manager. Fabien Barthez and Thierry Henry have made the most appearances for the Les Blues in the World Cup stage with 17 matches each while Just Fontaine is the all-time top scorer for his nation in this competition with 13 goals, all of his strikes coming in a single tournament in 1958 a record that is not broken till now.    


Previous Tournament

The 2018 World Cup was a brilliant outing for France as they went to lift the trophy for the second time in their history beating Croatia 4-2 in the final. Didier Deschamps’s men produced some effective football on the pitch four years ago keeping their defense nut tight for most of the occasion with the back-four of Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez side by side offering explosiveness in attack mainly through then hottest football prodigy of the world, Kylian Mbappe. Both he and Antoine Griezmann scored four goals in the tournament with the former becoming the second youngest goal-scorer after Brazil’s legend Pele to score in a World Cup final at the age of 19. He became the youngest goal-scorer for France in the tournament anyway. Despite not scoring, Olivier Giroud proved to the fulcrum of attack for France keeping the defense busy so the rest perform their activity. N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, both missing the World Cup this time, became the lynchpin in midfield for Les Bleus. France topped their group containing Denmark, Peru and Australia before playing an absolute thriller against Argentina winning 4-3 in the round of 16. They made easy work of Uruguay in the quarterfinals then soaked up the pressure from Belgium in the semis to reach the showpiece. There a Mario Mandzukic own goal, Antoinne Griezmann penalty and splendid strikes from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe secured the World Cup trophy for the French.



France’s qualification to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was pretty stable even though they give certain moments of panic attacks. Les Blues topped their group eventually with five wins and three draws from eight games, scoring 18 goals and conceding just three. They finished six points better than Ukraine in the second spot. Antoine Griezmann finished as the top scorer for Les Blues in the qualifying with six goals with Kylian Mbappe chipping in five. Hugo Lloris kept five clean sheets for France.  


Preparation for World Cup 2022

 The concerning part for France ahead of the World Cup in Qatar is their torrid Nations League campaign which was their only preparatory contest. They only registered one win in the competition they won last year and got saved from relegation to League B only because Austria lost their last group-stage game against leaders Croatia. France will not be able to qualify for the Nations League semi-finals next year after picking up three losses, two against Denmark and one against the Croats also drawing against them and Austria in the away games. The defending champions only managed three wins in 2022 so far with the pair of friendlies in March going in their favor as they beat two African nations, Ivory Coast and South Africa with an aggregate score of 7-1. Five were scored in the game against the Bafana Bafana.


France 2022 World Cup Squad:


Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspurs), Steve Mandanda (Stade Rennais), Alphonse Areola (West Ham)


Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich)


Midfielders: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (AS Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Marseille)


Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembele (FC Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)


Coach: Didier Deschamps

There are key absentees in the squad mostly due to injuries while others missed out simply because of the amount of competition in each position so the squad. France have a huge depth and can make several elevens out of it, hence they don’t look thin or regressive in quality even at a time first choices are missing. Key members of the 2018 World Cup winning squad, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba miss out after failing to shrug off their injuries by the time tournament starts in Qatar. Back with Juventus, Pogba’s decision not to have surgery to get fit for the showpiece backfired as his agent confirmed his absence. On the other hand, Kante suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury which will keep him out till next year. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan also failed to recover from his injury to make the squad while Benoit Badiashile and Jonathan Clauss missed out because of the congestion of players in one position. Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane, Lucas Hernandez and Karim Benzema all had injury scares leading up to the tournament but all have shaken off their respective issues to make the squad. Giroud, Varane and Antoine Griezmann could all be the top appearance maker for France if the Les Blues are able to play at least five games in the competition.         


The strength of France is their tournament-winning mentality and the supremely talented squad at their disposal with unimaginable depth. Seven players in the squad were key contributors to the World Cup success in 2018 and they are the core of the present side again. The experience is huge compared to rosters of other nations giving them an extra edge instantly. Manager Didier Deschamps is himself a treasure to the side with the players having faith in him to guide them to glory and use the talents of the squad to their full potential. The attack of France is also impressive with the explosiveness of Kylian Mbappe, the ruthlessness of Karim Benzema, the big game experiences of Antoinne Griezmann and the incredible striker in Olivier Giroud. Even wild card Christopher Nkunku is a forward netting over 20 goals for his club RB Leipzig. 22-year-old Aurelien Tchouameni is a sensational talent in the midfield while the defense alone could put France on the brink of excellency.  



The main weakness that could lead to France’s downfall in major tournaments like this is their uncontrolled ego that comes with having some of the best superstars in the footballing world. The Euros last year was an example of how far a richly talented with no flaws in quality could fall off just for personal pride. Didier Deschamps is known to use a robust system for everyone to play their part in the team however he too fails to manage if self-conceit causes problems in the dressing room. Not only on the pitch but stuff outside of it like Kylian Mbappe’s priority of his image to the world, Paul Pogba’s reports of hiring a witch doctor to cast a spell on the PSG star denied by him later and spat between Benzema and Giroud has not helped the cause. This will be a big problem for France to overcome in Qatar.


Star Player: Kylian Mbappe

France won the World Cup in 2018 more on collective power rather than individual brilliance although Kylian Mbappe making the stage of his own became a gigantic factor in the success of Les Bleus at that edition. Even having a plethora of attacking options at the tournament, Kylian Mbappe will still be the player everyone will look forward to doing the damage to the opposition. Mbappe does take pride a lot on his self-image but has said to love the system of playing for his national team more than for his club PSG. On the flip side, he almost decided to quit the national team because the federation was unable to protect him from racism after his penalty miss in the shootout against Switzerland in the round of 16 of the Euros last year causing France’s elimination. However, Kylian Mbappe will be equally motivated like the 2018 tournament to add another World Cup prize in his career scoring goals left, right and center with his burst of pace, dribbles and simply being the best in his role. This tournament gave him the limelight to announce himself to the world four years later and he is poised to bring more fireworks in this edition with more maturity in his steps now.               

How will France Lineup at the 2022 World Cup?

Didier Deschamps will probably have the toughest decision to make the right selection for this French squad to minimize egos in the teams and utilize the potential to its maximum. One has not to be a football expert to say he will be torn between selecting former winner Olivier Giroud or the recent Balon d’Or grabber Karim Benzema to partner Kylian Mbappe up front in the preferred 3-4-1-2 formation. Deschamps has witnessed that bringing Karim Benzema back to the national team was not the best idea to do during the Euro championship last year. He was another celebrity in the squad to handle and he often got the way of Mbappe and Griezmann because of his nature of play in and around the box sometimes dropping to midfield. It disrupted the role of the others causing disfigurement that carried on to their underwhelming Nations League campaign. With Giroud, it is more straightforward as the understanding between the front trio becomes immaculate. They have combined for the 2018 World Cup success with Giroud’s excellent hold-up play letting others thrive in the spaces left behind while his heading ability is an asset for wing-play. All of this is not achieved when Benzema is in the team although his injury concerns lately could make this decision an easy one for Deschamps to make. Adrian Rabiot’s late run of good form with Juventus should get him in with Aurelien Tchouameni in midfield. While Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane and Lucas Hernandez should make a formidable back three despite their stop-start campaign due to injuries.


Opponents & Fixtures

France vs Australia - 23 November 2022, Al Janoub Stadium (12:30 AM)

France vs Denmark - 26 November 2022, Stadium 974 (9:30 PM)

Tunisia vs France - 30 November 2022, Education City Stadium (8:30 PM)


Same as the last edition, France begin their World Cup campaign with a wishful fixture against Australia in a match they will fancy all three points. The Soceroos have earlier provided resistance to other top nations in the World Cup but this is by far the weakest squad traveling to the tournament in their history. Anything other than a win will be a massive drop-off for this French side taking on Denmark on 26th November. The Danish Dynamites have beaten them twice this year in the Nations League making it important for Didier Deschamp’s team to take a cautious note in this match yet not give too much respect to the opposition at the same time. Even the last group stage game against Tunisia can be challenging for France considering the amount of contingent from the nation in their homeland. They will also be keen to break the hoodoo of the champions with winners of the tournament getting knocked out from the group stages of the next one which happened in the last five editions.  


Stance on Qatar

Cities in France, including Paris, have joined in the movement of boycotting fan zones for the World Cup in Qatar over environmental and human rights issues in the host nation. There will be no match screening for the games played also taking the factor in that the tournament is being held in winter. Calls for boycotting the entire tournament also surfaced among French citizens, however, government spokesperson Olivier Veran said it is hard to stop a tournament only a week away when the decision could have been made at the time of its awarding to Qatar in the first place 10 years ago. There was an outrage on social media when a French media outlet Le Canard enchaine drew cartoons using a stereotypical version of Arab men being terrorists in view of calling against the hosts which many called xenophobic. France itself sent security forces to Qatar to assist in their preparation for the World Cup drawing a lot of criticism.         


France have to move away from arrogance and self-pride to thrive on the field. Keeping their off-controversy aside will be key to the team who can easily win the title again if played to their full strength. Les Blues cannot be fooled by their champion status in this tournament though as there will be equally capable candidates for the trophy this time with more talented squads around. A run to the final or even the semifinals will not dampen France’s legacy but anything else could open the gates for some player’s exit or evidently their manager. So, France being France and not egomaniacs will certainly make this competition a memorable one again.

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