France's top 5 players at the 2018 FIFA World Cup so far

Belgium v France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
2018 FIFA World Cup

France reached their third World Cup final in history and is aiming to take the trophy home for the second time ever. Since their European success in 1984 with Michel Platini, France won the World Cup in 1998 at home soil, went on to win the Euros in 2000 over Italy, and ultimately had an extraordinary runner-up effort in Germany in 2006.

With constant disappointments from 2008 to 2016, including a good performance in Brazil 2014 and a heartbreaking loss to Portugal at home in the Euro 2016 final, France arrived in Russia with one thing in mind: taking the trophy home.

Six players in the current squad played in the 2014 World Cup when France reached the quarter finals and lost 1-0 to Germany, who went on to win the tournament. After four years, younger players joined the team with the same coach, Didier Deschamps.

France had a great run from the group stage to the final. They faced Australia, Peru, and Denmark in the group, earning seven points. Then, France defeated Argentina 4-3 with a brilliant offensive effort, especially from Kylian Mbappé, who scored a brace and provoked a penalty.

In the quarter finals, they faced Uruguay. Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane opened the score with a header in the first half, and Griezmann sealed the deal thanks to a mistake by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

The semi-final match put Belgium in France's road to glory. Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti connected with a Griezmann corner kick and scored the lone goal in the Blues' victory over their European rivals.

Let's take a look to France's top 5 players from the tournament.

5) Hugo Lloris / Goalkeeper

Hugo Lloris

France's defence has allowed four goals in the World Cup, and its success starts with the captain and the leading voice in goal. Hugo Lloris is playing his third World Cup with France, and his position in goalkeeping duties has been undisputed for 10 years.

Lloris has been an integral part of France's current success in Russia. In France's six matches, Lloris took part in five and conceded four goals, and three of those came in the 4-3 win over Argentina, the other one a penalty in France's 2-1 debut over Australia.

Lloris big moment in the tournament came versus Uruguay in the quarter finals. France took the lead thanks to Varane, but Uruguay tried to equalize the match to stop feeling the pressure of the score.

From a setpiece, Uruguay's special tool, Uruguayan defender Martín Cáceres connected a header, forcing Lloris to make one of the biggest saves of the tournament, to preserve France's lead, which paved the way to a 2-0 win over Uruguay.

The semi-finals match started with Belgium putting pressure on the French side. Lloris was again brilliant to prevent France's defence to suffer the Belgian attack.

The French goalkeeper saved a shot by Tottenham's defender Jan Vertonghen and cleared the danger for his side. France went on to win the match and reach its third final spot in the last 20 years (six World Cups tournaments).

Lloris ranks first in fewer goals conceded by goalkeepers who reached the semi-final, tied with Croatia's Danijel Subašić.

4) Paul Pogba / Midfielder

Belgium v France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Paul Pogba

Manchester United player, Paul Pogba, has been a top contributor in France's effort to reach the World Cup final. Pogba's display in the midfield is an essential part for France.

After a down year at Manchester with alleged problems with coach Jose Mourinho, Pogba has reemerged as one of the most prominent midfielders in the world.

Playing alongside Blaise Matuidi and N'Golo Kanté, Pogba was able to make an impact in every game he's played, mainly sending long passes to the speedy Mbappé and crosses to Olivier Giroud.

With an 80% pass accuracy (217 successful passes) and a 78% success in defensive tackles, Pogba is a fantastic two-way player for his national team, fitting perfectly in the French midfield and actively supporting the attacking crew.

3) Kylian Mbappé / Forward

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappé is an exciting part in France's run. His brace over Argentina worked as an essential spark during the French side performance in the World Cup. In the group stage, he played all three matches and added the goal in a 1-0 victory over Peru to become France's youngest goalscorer for France and sealed his team's step to the second round.

Versus Argentina, Mbappé forced a penalty in the 12th minute after a fantastic show of speed and dribbling. In the second half of the match, after Argentina was able to take the lead thanks to a Gabriel Mercado goal in the early stages, Mbappé continued to perform well and lead the offensive charge for his team.

After Benjamin Pavard tied the match with the best goal of the World Cup so far, Mbappé put his stamp in the game with a left-foot goal after a great dribble inside the box, and then scored again after finishing a spectacular attack by France.

In the semi-finals, Mbappé played well versus Belgium, although he could not score, he gave the crowd moments of fantastic display and some great tricks.

Mbappé leads France in goals-per-minutes in the World Cup (3 goals in 444 minutes), and he has fired six shots, and five of those were on target.

2) Antoine Griezmann / Forward

Football: France vs Belgium at World Cup
Antoine Griezmann

The Atlético Madrid forward plays an integral part both in attacking display and with his effort to help out in defence and be a leader in critical moments.

Griezmann scored three goals in the World Cup, two penalties, and a goal versus Uruguay in the quarter finals. But Griezmann's efforts can't be judged by his goal-tally, he's been perfect in setpieces, providing assists to Varane in the round of eight and to Umtiti in the semis.

The French forward leads the team in attempts with 17, in passes completed by a forward with 155 (76%), and five crosses completed.

Also, Griezmann is France's only forward with at least 20 recoveries in the tournament with 22. Griezmann has more recoveries than defenders Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernández, and midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Corentin Tolisso.

1) N'Golo Kanté / Midfielder

France v Belgium - Semi Final FIFA World Cup 2018
N'Golo Kante

Kanté's display on the midfield has been beyond brilliant. His play in his side's the half of the pitch is enormous and allows Pogba and Matuidi to attack without worries of leaving their team with vulnerability in the midfield.

Kanté is everywhere on the pitch, anytime France is attacking, the Chelsea midfielder is always waiting in the perfect spot to prevent a counter-attack by the opposing side and try making a fast transition to an offensive attempt.

Kanté leads the Deschamps-led squad in recoveries with 48; the second player has 38 (Pogba). The defensive midfielder has 19 interceptions, which leads France. In addition to his defensive prowess, Kanté is also the transitional player from defense to offense concerning ball handling for the team.

The midfielder leads the team in passes completed with 311, and a 90% pass accuracy. Kanté is one of two players in the French squad who played the six games for his team in the tournament (540 minutes).

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Edited by Ben Winfield
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