Every football manager and fan will have their favourite players which, in the case of international tournaments, can have a massive impact on the players that get picked for a squad. In some cases, though, favourites have to be brushed aside to build a squad that has a nice blend of quality and experience. The French side for Euro 2020 looks to have just that.
This blend of youth and experience is ideal for France, as a side that has plenty of International tournament wins under its belt already with two World cups and two European Championships as well as two Confed Cups within the last twenty-three-year period. Those squads also featured a nice mix of youthful spirit and experienced members and given Didier Deschamps’ selections for this year’s tournament, they could well be in for a great run.
Combine this with the fact that Deschamps was one of the key figures behind their World Cup win in 1998 and the entire team looks fantastic on paper. This is again reflected with the bookmakers who have given France 5/1 odds for EURO 2020 of winning the whole competition, behind England’s own youthful side at 4/1 and ahead of what appears to be an ageing German side at 8/1.
When it comes to this French squad, the principle of having proper young players is not necessarily factory fresh. For example, the 1998 World Cup winning team featured a young Thierry Henry as well as both David Trezeguet and Patrick Viera who were all aged below 21 at the time. In 2021, history may be repeating itself with the squad featuring some fantastic youth in attacking areas such as Kylian Mbappe, FIFA 21 cover star and a man who has drawn plenty of comparisons to Henry. Marcus, son of Lillian Thuram who won the ’98 tournament, is also present in the France squad.
It’s all good having a young team, but with tournaments that take place every four years, having experience and players that can provide instant results can also be successful. It is for this reason that Deschamps has also chucked in some of the more established talents, especially in the goalkeeping and forward areas. Hugo Lloris has kept his place in goal and most likely as the France captain for one. As a keeper, he commands the defence and is the last line, so proves immensely important.
Up top, Karim Benzema returns in a standout season individually but from a Real Madrid side who had a subpar season. Alongside him comes Olivier Giroud, a World Cup winner with Les Bleus and one of the most prolific finishers in both the Ligue 1 during his time at Montpellier, and most notably for Arsenal in the Premier League. As well as this, Giroud also brings a useful linkup striker for Mbappe to play off, as well as some great flair that should 1wow the crowds.
It’s fair to say that this blend of youth and experience could be just what France needs in order to win the tournament. It worked for them in 2018, and there’s no reason why it won’t work again in 2021. In that time, players such as Mbappe have aged and matured into world beaters and the likes of Giroud and Benzema are having a notable career resurgence. This could just power Les Bleus to victory in consecutive international tournaments.