France play their third and final fixture of the September international break on Tuesday night, as they host Finland in Lyon.
The Fins are the last team to inflict defeat on France in 90 minutes, having produced a brilliant collective display to beat their hosts 2-0 last November. So far, Markku Kanerva’s side have enjoyed a decent start to their World Cup qualification campaign, winning one and drawing two after three games – they are also just four points behind France with two games in hand.
Didier Deschamps will be keener than anyone to earn a victory, having seen his side fail to win any of their last five games, including the round-of-16 tie against Switzerland that ended an embarrassing Euro 2020 campaign this summer. So, in a bid to get back into the groove, here’s the lineup the France boss could opt for.
Hugo Lloris (GK) – He won’t be his country’s number one for too much longer but, for now, he has Deschamps’ trust and will continue to captain the side between the sticks.
Leo Dubois (RB) – While we may get a glimpse of RB Leipzig’s Nordi Mukiele at some point, the more experienced option of Dubois will likely be preferred for this one.
Raphael Varane (CB) – Having missed the draw with Ukraine last time out, the Manchester United
man will come straight back into the side to reintroduce his typical composure and class at the back.
Presnel Kimpembe (CB) – Now the firm first choice for that left-sided central defender, Kimpembe hasn’t missed a minute of action in Les Bleus’ last nine outings and will likely start against Finland.
Lucas Digne (LB) – Digne is a favourite of Deschamps’ and should continue in Lucas Hernandez’s absence, although we could see Lucas’ brother Theo feature on the left side of defence.
Paul Pogba (CM) – An unstoppable force in a France shirt, Pogba is one of the best midfielders on the planet when playing for his country and is a guaranteed name on the team sheet.
Aurelien Tchouameni (CM) – The in-demand youngster enjoyed a good full debut last time out and will be hopeful of shaking off a knock and earning another start here. Expect Jordan Veretout to take this spot if Tchouameni doesn’t make it.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – Has played just about everywhere on the left for France in the past few months, but should be afforded a place in central midfield for the visit of Finland.
Antoine Griezmann (RW) – Griezmann never let his country down and is in line for a record-extending 54th consecutive appearance for Les Bleus, aiming to move ever closer to Michel Platini’s tally of 41 international strikes.
Karim Benzema (ST) – Rested against Ukraine, the Real Madrid star will come back into the fold in an attempt to liven up what has been a lacklustre France attack in recent showings.
Kingsley Coman (LW) – With Kylian Mbappe out, the likes of Anthony Martial, Thomas Lemar and Moussa Diaby all have shouts to deputise on the left-wing, although Deschamps will likely opt for Coman.