FIFA Rankings : 4
Odds : 6-1
Previous Tournaments :
France have appeared in 15 World Cups, including the last six. They won their first title in 1998, beating Brazil 3-0 in the final on home soil, and repeated the feat in the last edition in Russia with a 4-2 final victory against Croatia.
How they qualified :
France qualified top of Group D with five wins and three draws, two of them against second-placed Ukraine.
They finished their qualifying campaign with three consecutive victories, including an 8-0 demolition of Kazakhstan. They scored 18 goals and conceded three.
Form guide :
Since securing qualification for the finals in Qatar, France won two friendly games against Ivory Coast and South Africa but then struggled in the Nations League.
They salvaged their place in the top tier but ended a dismal campaign with a 2-0 defeat away to Denmark – their third in six matches, having won only one.
More questions for the defending champions
France head into the World Cup with more questions than answers after their build-up to the tournament was marred by injuries, poor results and off-field distractions.
The defending champions have had a dismal Nations League campaign, just salvaging their place in the top tier at the end of an injury-ravaged month in September.
Key midfielders N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, who played pivotal roles in France’s victorious campaign in 2018, have been ruled out due to injuries.
Kylian Mbappe is in the midst of a media storm over reports he wanted to leave Paris St Germain less than four months after extending his contract with the French champions. The striker has now said he is happy at PSG and never asked to leave in January.
The French Football Federation has also been subjected to an audit commissioned by the Sports Ministry over working conditions amid claims of sexual harassment and bullying. The federation has denied the allegations.
Should the inspectors find evidence of a crime, they are legally bound to report it to a judge, which would likely trigger a police investigation.
On the pitch, France have been struggling to rediscover the spark that guided them to a perfectly mastered Nations League triumph last season, helping Les Bleus put the disappointment of a last-16 exit at the European Championship behind them.
Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema and Mbappe might have the potential to form the most formidable attacking lineup in the game but their partnership has been taking time to gel.
While Benzema was out injured in France’s last two Nations League games, veteran Olivier Giroud earned a recall from Deschamps and made the most of it, earning Mbappe’s praise.
The 36-year-old Giroud’s presence – or absence – will be the main topic of Deschamps’s squad list for the Qatar finals, where France take on Denmark, Australia and Tunisia in Group D.
They are expected to go through, even if they lost to Denmark in their last meeting when their back line showed more signs of nerves.
Deschamps needs to fix the defence and decide, for good, whether he will play with four defenders or three centre backs and two wing backs.
The length of the injury list might make the decision for the coach, who can win the World Cup for a third time – once as a player and twice as manager – like Brazil’s Mario Zagallo who lifted the trophy twice as a player and once as head coach
Team announced :
Hugo Lloris, Alphonse Areola, Steve Mandanda, Benjamin Pavard, Jules Kounde, Prensel Kimpembe, William Saliba, Raphael Varane, Lucas Hernandez, Theo Hernandez, Dayot Upamecao, Adrien Rabiot, Aurelien Tchouameni, Youssouf Fofana, Matteo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout, Eduardo Camavinga, Kungsley Coman, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann , Ousmane Dembele and Christopher Nkunku