What’s the story?
France, who were quarter-finalists in the recent European U-17 Championship, have announced their squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India starting from the 6th of October, where they are placed in Group E with Japan, Honduras and New Caledonia.
Like their senior side, Les Bleuets have also been crowned World Champions only once. The French U17 side finished champions of the U-17 World Cup in 2001, inspired by the performances of forwards Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle as they defeated African giants Nigeria but have never gone past the quarterfinals since. The French, though, have had better luck in the European U-17 Championships. They have won the tournament twice previously, in 2001 and 2015.
France finished as quarter finalists in the recent European U17 Championships, as they were defeated by eventual Champions Spain.
The heart of the matter
Here is the squad for the upcoming tournament :
Goalkeepers: Brahia Bernard (Lens), Yahia Fofana (Le Havre), Illan Meslier (Lorient).
Defenders: Melvin Bard (Lyon), William Bianda (Lens), Vincent Collet (Metz), Maxime Lacroix (Sochaux), Batista Mendy (Nantes), Andy Pelmard (Nice), Oumar Solet (Laval).
Midfielders: Yacine Adli (PSG), Maxence Caqueret (Lyon), Claudio Gomes (C) (PSG), Alan Kerouedan (Rennes), Mathias Picouleau (Rennes), Lenny Pintor (Brest), Aurélien Tchouaméni (Bordeaux)
Forwards: Alexis Flips (Nice), Willem Geubbels (Lyon), Amine Gouiri (Lyon), Wilson Isidor (Rennes)
The French have a host of world class talent in their current senior setup, most of whom are still very young, which showcases how they have been able to integrate their young players into the senior setup. France put on an impressive performance during the European Championships and their main striker Gouiri scoring a championship record of nine goals in five matches. France would have missed out on qualification but managed to clinch it through a playoff win against Hungary, again thanks to a strike from their star man Gouiri.
Apart from Gouiri, players like Adli, Geubbels and captain Gomes will all be ones to watch out for. These players have already caused quite a stir in Europe and are on the radar for many top clubs. Gomes has even drawn likeness with the iconic Claude Makelele with his performances at this age.
France, who are in Group E, will play all their group matches in Guwahati. They are poised to top their group, with relatively easier opponents and will be one of the exciting attacking teams to watch throughout the tournament.
Les Bleuets can very well be regarded as one of the tournament dark horses and will be itching to change their fortunes this time around and go beyond the quarter-final stages at least.
Poll : Who will top Group D in FIFA World Cup 2022?