After winning the World Cup with the second youngest team at the tournament, France are now set to add even more success to their decorated history, writes DEAN WORKMAN.
With an average age of 26 in the France squad, Les Bleus now look poised to go on and dominate international football the way France’s previous Golden Generation have done before them.
France’s first triumph at the World Cup came in 1998 when Didier Deschamps led a team filled with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and many more to glory on home soil.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 15, 2018
The same group of players followed that up with victory in Euro 2000, adding to their previous European Championship won in 1984.
This era of French players dominated the international stage in such a manner that it inspired a new generation of stars, who now have the chance to emulate their heroes.
Deschamps’ team suffered heartbreak two years ago when they lost in the final of Euro 2016 on home soil to Portugal despite being heavy favourites. They, however, learned from that damaging defeat and grew from the experience to put those demons to bed by lifting the World Cup trophy in Moscow.
After tasting both failure and success, this group of players boasts experience beyond their years – something professionals twice their age might not even have attained.
🤳🏆🇫🇷 | #WorldCupFinal
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 16, 2018
Out of the starting XI against Croatia in the final, Olivier Giroud (31) and Blaise Matuidi (31) are likely to not be around come Qatar 2022. Hugo Lloris (31), as a goalkeeper, could still be between the sticks four years from now.
There was, however, a host of players who form the spine of the team including Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Antoine Griezmann (all 25-27) who started the showpiece event and will likely be in their prime at the next World Cup.
When you add a group of youngsters (19-23) such as Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Corentin Tolisso and Benjamin Mendy, the future of French football looks rather bright.
In Mbappe, Les Bleus have the world’s best young player. The Paris Saint-Germain forward matched two records set by the legendary Pele after he became only the second teenager to score a brace at the World Cup and score in the final on his way to winning the World Cup’s Young Player award.
If Mbappe continues to improve, there is no doubt he could evolve into the best player in the world, a prospect that will have fans of the French football team drooling.
With experience, youth and an abundance of talent, this French side could go on and dominate international football for the foreseeable future.