France are set to face Poland in their FIFA World Cup Round of 16 clash today (December 4), and the lineup for both teams has been released. However, fans are not pleased with Raphael Varane's inclusion in Les Bleus' lineup, especially as Ibrahima Konate will have to sit on the bench.
Varane has been consistent for Didier Deschamps, playing in the group-stage clashes against Denmark and Tunisia. The Manchester United man is set to start alongside Dayot Upamecano against Poland today.
Konate, on the other hand, has proven himself to be a defensive rock for France, having made an appearance in all three group-stage games.
The Liverpool centre-back's absence from the starting lineup and Varane's inclusion has agitated the fans.
They took to Twitter to slam Didier Deschamps' decision to keep Varane in the starting lineup:
France prepare for tough Poland fixture in FIFA World Cup Round of 16
Les Blues boss Didier Deschamps has warned his team to respect the Poles when they clash in the third Round of 16 fixture in the FIFA World Cup.
France have exceeded expectations by becoming the first reigning champions since 2006 to reach the knockout stage at a FIFA World Cup.
However, Deschamps doesn't want their current brilliance to get into their heads. This is especially after they failed to beat Tunisia in their final group-stage game. Speaking about their clash against Poland, France's head coach explained (via Vanguard):
“Today, even a great nation, if she is not ready, can have unpleasant situations. All the games are difficult, all the teams are good and prepared. The players all play in good leagues."
"This team has had to defend in the first three games, defend a lot and they defend very well. They love it. They have a hardcore of players with good experience. You have to respect what this team does, they deserve to be there.”
For the Poles, it will be all about providing opportunities for Robert Lewandowski to execute his trademark goalscoring prowess in the FIFA World Cup. Poland boss Czeslaw Michniewicz revealed his plans for the team to connect better with the superstar striker (via Vanguard):
“We played difficult passes in easy situations, we didn’t create enough opportunities for Robert. Strikers like that, they need to be near the penalty box. In order to take advantage of every team we need to bring the strikers to the right zone. You can’t normally score from your own half.”
The winner of this encounter will face the winner of the other Round of 16 clash between England and Senegal today.