Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris is expected to start in goal for the Les Blues but the 27 year old shot stopper isn’t expected to be under severe scrutiny against Honduras. France’s group fixtures might provoke fans back home to oversee Deschamps’ side to qualify easily from the group stages. Games against Honduras and Ecuador are potential banana skins while Otmar Hitzfeld’s Swiss outfit is expected to give the 1998 World Champions a stern test. Lloris is expected to have a quite game under the sticks but the Spurs number one needs to make sure that his distribution remains less error prone and is able to find out attacking outlets from his goal kicks. A sweeping keeping keeper in the mould of Manuel Neuer and Gianlugi Buffon will hold an immense tactical nous as the tournament while Lloris too can fill in this role if needed.
Deschamps needs to decide to start whom between Newcastle’s Mathieu Debuchy or former Arsenal man Bacary Sagna, who is now a Manchester City player for the right back slot. The difference between the two is non existent as both the players played well in the friendlies in the build up to the tournament. It might get down to the attacking prowess between the two and I feel Sagna just sneaks ahead of Debuchy with his experience and defending abilities. Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny should be starting lest Rapahale Varane is opted alongside Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho in the heart of the defense.
While Koscielny was quite vulnerable against Ukraine in the play offs for the World Cup spot, Varane was rock solid at the back in Real Madrid’s Champions League final win over cross city rivals Atletico Madrid in Lisbon. Varane, though picked up a knock and might not recover in time, thus handing Koscielny a starting eleven spot. Manchester United’s Patrice Evra starts in the left back role which remains France’s major weakness at the back.
France need to decide whether they will stick to their 4-4-2 setup or will change to a more flexible and tactically flexible 4-3-3 to accommodate AntoineGriezmann in the attacking third. By the looks of it, Paul Pogba is expected to hold fort in midfield with PSG’s Blaise Matuidi acting as the screen in front of the back four. The PSG midfielder’s ability to act as the destroyer will allow Pogba to relentlessly push forward to join in attack. Mathieu Valbuena and Yohan Cabaye are expected to acquire in a more central role despite starting on either flanks. This however has a negative effect as the Les Blues might get too narrow which is always a dangerous ploy going into the first game of the showpiece tournament.
Karim Benzema should lead the line up front with Griezmann getting the nod on the left side due to Franck Ribery’s injury. Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and QPR’s Loic Remy too might be used if Deschamps opts to give his second and third choice strikers some time on the pitch. Benzema is expected to play in a more central role, which will make space for the overlapping wingbacks to run into space and drag the central defenders out of position.