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EURO2016: Will this France side emulate the classes of ’84 and ’98?

France have an obvious knack for performing in the comforts of their own backyard.

Les Bleus used the familiarity of playing on French soil to secure the 1984 European Championship before doubling the home dose by dominating the world in 1998 to win their only ever FIFA World Cup.

Here we are in 2016 and France are again hosting a tournament in warm and inviting surroundings.

Didier Deschamps has put together an exciting group of players that blends youthful exuberance and zest with experienced calmness, competency and control. All these are ingredients necessary to achieve success in the modern era.

While it may not be all smooth sailing, due to the sheer weight of expectation, France loom as a serious threat at Euro2016 and we feel they have enough quality, character and craving to complete the challenging task they have been handed.

(Les Bleus)

HEAD COACH: Didier Deschamps

TRIBAL'S TOP 3: Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Hugo Lloris

WILDCARD: Dimitri Payet. The West Ham dazzler has just 18 caps at the age of 29 but his form in recent month suggests he is set to be an integral part of Deschamps' side. Possesses devilish ingenuity and sublime set-piece skills and has the ability to simply set the tournament alight.

HISTORY: Won Euro1984 on home soil. Also won the tournament in 2000 in Germany/Holland. Quarter-finalists in Poland/Ukraine four years ago.


The tournament opener takes place against a Romanian side there for the taking in Paris on Friday night while their second fixture against Albania also reeks of maximum points.

They may sit on the fence for the Switzerland game, as they would have already sewn up top spot, before a forecast knockout stage meeting with the Republic of Ireland.

I sense that this one won't be as close as the dramatic Thierry Henry 'Hand of Frog' encounter in World Cup 2010 qualifying in Paris, despite Ireland's never-say-die attitude, and the French should be on their way to the quarters.

There we see a potential meeting with Austria, who will be overpowered, before the home team use all the nous they possess to get past the ever-present and efficient Germans in the final four.

The prediction of a final against Spain may not really be seen as going out a limb but common sense will tell you that this is one of the most likely scenarios in this edition of the European Championships.

The defence should not be a problem for the French with captain Hugo Loris marshalling it all from the back behind the quality of Laurent Koscielny and the assuredness of Adil Rami, who has done well since stepping in, while Bacary Sagna and the trusted Patrice Evra have been running the show at full-back.

The loss of Raphael Varane late last month hurts but there appears to be enough cover, even if the jury is still out on Eliaquim Mangala.

There is an exceptional amount of quality in attacking midfield with a stupid number of formations Deschamps can revert to in order to accommodate all the creativity that sits in and around the centre and final third of the pitch.

Names like Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet, Antoine Griezmann, Anthony Martial and Moussa Sissoko leap off the page while even the more sturdy likes of Blaise Matuidi and N'Golo Kante have been on the scoresheet lately.

An unlikely hero could emerge in the form of Olivier Giroud, who despite scoring seven times in his past five international outings, continues to be jeered by the French faithful.

His presence in the squad has been overshadowed by the absence of Karim Benzema, who was not considered due to a sex-tape blackmail scandal involving Mathieu Valbuena, but Giroud's rich vein of scoring form certainly has not been overlooked.

The Arsenal man will happily be on-hand to finish all the potent up-field work created by the aforementioned attacking midfield schemers and could quite possibly become the next in a long line of star French strikers to pocket a major medal.

While it may be seen as an easy bet to stick with a home team who performs so well on their own dirt and grass, you can only go with what you feel and Tribalfootball has a gut instinct that the Euro trophy will be returning to the Gallic region where it has sat so proudly on two previous occasions.


Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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