Euro 2020 begins in less than two weeks. All 24 squads are confirmed. The tournament was due to take place last summer, however, it was delayed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament takes place in numerous cities around Europe. The opening game takes place in Stadio Olimpico in Rome and it features Turkey vs Italy. Wembley Stadium in London will host the final. Finland and North Macedonia are participating in the tournament for the first time. Scotland is in the tournament for the first time since 1996. In addition, Denmark and The Netherlands make their return after failing to qualify in the previous tournament.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) May 28, 2021
The favorites in the tournament are England, Portugal, and Belgium. France, the reigning World Champions have to be considered the overwhelming favorites. Italy and Netherlands could be dark horses.
In France’s case, the amount of talent available in such a loaded squad begs the question of which players are most exciting. In other words, which player on the squad is capable of making a strong impact. Furthermore, which player will shine the most for the national team?
Five Players For France To Watch Out For
Karim Benzema: The Real Madrid superstar is on the squad for the first since 2015. Benzema is the fifth all-time leading scorer for Los Blancos. During his time away from international duty, Benzema has made a big name for himself, helping Los Blancos win three Champions League titles. In addition, Benzema has been Real Madrid’s top scorer for the past three seasons.
The 33-year-old striker is at the peak of his career. He’s not showing any signs of slowing down, meaning there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank. That’s good news for the French National Team.
Back in 2016, when Didier Deschamps, the manager of the French National Team did not select Benzema, controversy arose. The controversy caused a major uproar among the French supporters and the French media. In 2015, Benzema was allegedly involved in a blackmail scandal, which he has repeatedly denied. The controversial decision would lead Benzema to accuse Deschamps of racism and their relationship deteriorated. It soon became clear that Benzema would never represent France again.
After receiving the call-up, Benzema confirmed he and Deschamps came face-to-face and had a lengthy discussion. The two have officially reconciled and there’s no more bad blood nor any hard feelings. That’s very good news for the French Football Federation. No doubt, Benzema can do his country very proud next month. Playing a major role in helping France win Euro 2020 will solidify him as a national hero.
Kylian Mbappé: The 22-year-old forward simply has not stopped ever since he came on the scene in his spectacular breakout 2016-2017 season with AS Monaco. A move to Paris Saint-Germain in August of 2017 allowed him to continually take his skills to the next level. He’s at the point where a move to La Liga or the Premier League would be in his best interest. Real Madrid and Liverpool are very keen to acquire the young forward.
Mbappé is currently Paris Saint-Germain’s third all-time leading scorer. In addition, he’s been the top scorer for Les Parisiens for the last three seasons and he’s coming off a career-high 42 goals this season. Furthermore, he’s finished as Ligue 1’s top scorer for the past three seasons.
The PSG forward played quite a role in France’s World Cup triumph three years ago in Russia. He was a teenager at the time and he would go on to become only the second teenager in history to score in a World Cup final. Mbappé is not the player he was three years ago. Quite frankly, he’s a whole lot better now. Euro 2020 will be his second tournament while representing his native France. The sky is truly the limit for this young man.
N’Golo Kanté: Truly one of the finest players of today’s generation. It’s often argued that Kanté is the best midfielder in the world today. His talents and skills all simply speak for themselves. In Kanté’s case, his list of accomplishments and playing skills can’t be ignored. Kanté is the perfect example of a player who started the bottom and worked his way to the top. His list of accomplishments includes a World Cup title, Europa League title, and now the Champions League title.
A huge part of Chelsea’s Champions League triumph this season. It’s honestly a no-brainer for him to be part of the French squad for Euro 2020. Kanté’s performance in the semi-finals against Real Madrid was largely praised. In addition, his strong performance in the Champions League final made him Man of the Match. Furthermore, his performance in this season’s Champions League ought to be put him in the picture for the Ballon d’Or.
With all the momentum Kanté has at the moment, he has the potential to keep the momentum alive at Euro 2020. In France’s case, it would be terrible not to include Kanté in the starting lineup in the group stage matches against the likes of Germany and Portugal.
Olivier Giroud: Just like his Chelsea teammate, Kanté, Giroud is another perfect example of a player who started at the bottom and scratched and clawed his way to the top. His journey from playing from the French Ligue 2 to one of the Premier League’s best clubs speaks for itself. Of course, his journey representing France can’t go unspoken about as he was a pivotal piece of France’s World Cup win in 2018. Giroud is France’s second all-time leading scorer.
Giroud, 34, has been around for a long time. However, much like Benzema, he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Unfortunately, his lack of playing time for Chelsea doesn’t do him any good. Regardless, his resume will include the Champions League title. With the Champions League, Europa League, and World Cup title, Giroud is eager to add a European Championship to his list of accolades. He’s won all three major titles playing alongside Kanté. They know each other very well. Both players have done well playing alongside each other during international duty.
With Benzema on the squad, the question is who will be in the starting lineup. No doubt, a difficult decision for Deschamps. To be fair, both he and Benzema deserve a fair amount of playing time as both a perfectly capable of making an impact. Giroud is eight goals away from becoming France’s all-time leading scorer and with plenty left in the tank, Giroud can still do his country very proud.
Giroud’s leadership skills and expertise are still a very important aspect of the success of Les Bleus. Underutilizing Giroud can very well be a fatal mistake. Giroud may be in his mid-30s, but he’s still got it.
Antoine Griezmann: France’s fourth all-time leading scorer(35). The Man of the Match of the 2018 World Cup final and Euro 16’s top scorer(6) and best player. Griezmann really has done his country proud and he has plenty more to give. After helping France win the World title, he’s keen to win the European title for his country.
Unfortunately, he has not been able to make the best impact in Barcelona since moving from Atlético Madrid. Despite the initial struggles at Camp Nou, Griezmann has gradually improved on the Barça squad, scoring 20 goals this season. Furthermore, his track record and accomplishments for the national team can’t be ignored. Aside from the accomplishments, his skills and talents are useful and are hugely important to France’s success.
Griezmann is part of an elite and very talented French attack. Known for his ability to create scoring chances and scoring goals, Griezmann also has a very good work rate. In the national team’s case, he’s a much-needed player.
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