World Cup Profile: France

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Group E is in focus today, as inconsistent European outfit France are desperate to improve on their world credentials with a good showing in Brazil.

READ: World Cup Profile: England

Runners up in the 2006 event, France were sent packing in the group stages of South Africa 2010, and will see this year’s Mundial as an opportunity to right their wrongs of the past and prove their mettle on the global stage.

Qualification: W 6, D 2, L 2. *Beat Ukraine in a play-off.

Previous World Cup appearances: 13

Best World Cup finish: Winners (1998)

Current FIFA ranking: 17

Coach: Didier Deschamps had a glittering playing career, winning the World Cup, European Championship, Champions League and numerous League titles. Following managerial stints for Monaco, Juventus and Marseille, Deschamps took over Les Bleus in 2012, guiding them through a tough group to qualify for their fifth consecutive World Cup.

Captain: Considered one of the leading glove-men in the game, Tottenham Hotspurs shot-stopper Hugo Lloris captains a star-studded French side, who on their day, can easily compete with the world’s best. The 27-year-old will hope to keep his team mates in check both on and off the field to avoid a repeat of their disruptive antics and disastrous campaign in South Africa 2010.

Key player: France’s talisman Karim Benzema is a man with a point to prove. Having been overlooked for the French squad in the last World Cup, the 26-year-old will back himself to shine at this year’s world showpiece in Brazil.

Now in his fifth year in Spain, the Real Madrid striker did not have the greatest start to his career at Los Blancos, playing second fiddle to Argentinean forward Gonzalo Higuain. Yet he has come into his own this season following the departure of Higuain, scoring 24 goals in Real’s impressive run this year.

An out-and-out striker, Benzema is powerful and strong on the ball, with a sharp eye for goal. Comfortable with both feet, the centre-forward is known for his technical ability and pacey runs, both with and without the ball. A potent finisher, he is a strong header of the ball as well, while also often drifting out wide to create space for himself to deliver a defence-splitting pass into the box.

The Algerian-born centre-forward made his senior debut for France in 2007, yet has not been as prolific for his country as at club level. In their qualifying campaign for this year’s World Cup, Benzema featured in nine out of France’s ten qualifiers, yet scored just twice. Benzema will definitely look to improve upon his below-par tally of a goal in every three games for his country, yet will be encouraged by his potent club form this season to prove his worth in Brazil.

Check out the full French squad on KickOff.com’s all-new World Cup site.

Key fixture: Three points in their opening game against Honduras will give the French a confidence-booster before taking on much tougher group opponents Switzerland and France.

All fixtures

15 June, 21:00          France vs Honduras

20 June, 21:00          Switzerland vs France

25 June, 22:00          Ecuador vs France

Don’t miss the current edition of KICKOFF magazine for 16 pages of World Cup analysis, plus TWO World Cup wall charts, so you can follow every game of the world showpiece. 

ALSO READ: World Cup Profile: Italy

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