Irrespective of the name of a football tournament, if France are playing in it, they are undoubtedly one of the favourites for the title.
Didier Deschamps' team is currently one of the most feared sides in world football because of very obvious reasons. With a fabulous goalkeeper, rock-solid defence, extraordinary midfield and an intimidating front three, France have got all their bases covered.
However, most of the world-class players that Les Blues boast of trace their roots outside of France. 87% of the 2018 FIFA World Cup winning squad were either born in another country, or had their origins outside France.
Their prodigal attacker Kylian Mbappe was born to a Cameroonian father and an Algerian mother. France's midfield generals also trace their roots to a different country, as Paul Pogba was born to Guinean parents, while N'Golo Kante was born to Malian parents. The heart of their defence, Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon.
Many of these players were invited by the countries of their origin to represent them, but they chose otherwise. On that note, let us have a look at a France XI if Deschamps were to pick only 'purely French' players, who don't have roots in another country:
# France XI Goalkeeper
Didier Deschamps would be scratching his head if he were asked to field a goalkeeper whose roots are in France.
While his first-choice keeper Hugo Lloris was born to a Spanish father, his second-choice Steve Mandanda came to France only when he was a teenager. Alphonse Areola, who is often deployed as the third keeper for Les Bleus, has his roots in the Philippines.
Hence, Deschamps would have to pick Benjamin Lecomte. Lecomte plays for AS Monaco in the Ligue 1, and though he was called up to the French squad last year, he didn't feature in the playing XI. He has, however, represented France in the U19 and U20 levels.
# France XI Defenders
Benjamin Pavard, Clement Lenglet, Aymeric Laporte, Lucas Digne
While one has to dig deep to find a goalkeeper of French origin to play for Les Blues, their defence would not require too much tweaking. Both of France's side-backs who lit the stage on fire during the last FIFA World Cup would still be playing for them.
The other two players in their defence - the centre-backs, are not the ones who played at the World Cup as neither Samuel Umtiti nor Raphael Varane have their roots in France.
However, both Clement Lenglet and Aymeric Laporte have been brilliant for their respective clubs recently. While Lenglet has already got quite a few international matches under his belt, Laporte was called up by Deschamps but couldn't get any game time.
# France XI Midfielders
Adrien Rabiot, Jordan Veretout, Morgan Sanson
France's star-studded midfield would look drastically different if they were to field only players having their roots in the country. None of Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Moussa Sissoko, Corentin Tolisso and Blaise Matuidi would get a chance, as Adrien Rabiot will then become the midfield general.
The Juventus midfielder has played six games for his country, but his last game was a couple of years ago. The other two who will accompany him in the midfield, Jordan Veretout and Morgan Sanson, haven't got a chance to represent their nation yet.
AS Roma's Jordan Veretout has been a regular member of France's age-group teams. However, he couldn't consolidate his place in the first team.
Marseille's Morgan Sanson has also represented his nation in age-group matches. Though he has had an impressive last few seasons, it is extremely tough to see Sanson get into France's team that is packed to the brim with superstars.
# France XI Attack
Valere Germain, Florian Thauvin, Martin Terrier
France's highly intimidating attack would lose most of its threat if we picked an attacking trio of solely 'purely French' footballers.
The usual trio of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud would not make the cut as they have their roots in different nations. While Giroud is of Italian origin, Mbappe has his roots in Africa. Griezmann's father is of German descent, while his mother is Portuguese.
In such a scenario, Florian Thauvin would be the only player in their attack who has represented France in the recent past.
The other two would be AS Monaco's Valere Germain and Olympique Lyon's Martin Terrier. Both of them have represented France in age-level teams but have not made the cut in the senior squad.
While Germain might be at the dusk of his career, Terrier is still very young. Given his performances for Lyon in the last couple of seasons, we might see Terrier donning the blue jersey very soon.Published 02 May 2020, 14:37 IST