France is among the favourites to win Euro 2024 but its track record in the competition, a series of injuries and some players’ poor form mean Les Bleus will head into the competition without any certainties.

The World Cup runner-up has a comfortable draw in Group D with the Netherlands, Poland and Austria. However, coach Didier Deschamps will need to get creative with his defence in the absence of Lucas Hernandez, who sustained a serious knee injury and was ruled out of the tournament.

With Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate, who were both brilliant at the 2022 World Cup, going through a rough patch and having lost their place in their respective clubs’ starting line-ups, the team’s task is not an easy one.

To make matters worse, goalkeeper Mike Maignan has been struggling with injuries this season and his recent history offers few guarantees that he will be able to maintain his fitness throughout.

France’s savoir faire on the big stage, however, is second to none, and it showed that at the World Cup by reaching the final despite entering the tournament on the back of disappointing performances.


Previous Euro performances: Ten participations, best performance winners in 1984 and 2000

Other: World Cup winners 1998 and 2018

FIFA ranking: 2nd

Nickname: Les Bleus

Coach: Didier Deschamps

Star players: Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele

Main clubs: Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Lyon, Monaco

How did it qualify: Finished top of Group B ahead of the Netherlands

Pre-Euro friendlies:

France 3 Luxembourg 0

France v Canada (June 9)

But in 12 years in charge, Deschamps has not won the European championship, with France’s best result under his tenure being a runner-up spot in 2016 on home soil.

In the last edition, it was knocked out in the last 16 by Switzwerland on penalties, a failure it will want to put behind for good in Germany.

“I didn’t win the Euro as a coach but a lot of coaches didn’t win it. After the World Cup, there’s nothing bigger than the Euros. We’re going to approach the next one with ambition but also with a clear head,” Deschamps said.

“I’m well aware that with everything we’ve done, expectations are getting higher and higher. But experience also reminds us that in a competition, there are stages to go through. That we’re one of the favourites, like other teams, after all, there’s a certain logic.”

For all their defensive woes, France knows it can rely on the most lethal weapon in Kylian Mbappe, with Ousmane Dembele having the ability to create chaos like no other player.

Their Paris St Germain team mate Bradley Barcola is also a threat, which led Deschamps to call up the 21-year-old winger for the first time.

With Aurelien Tchouameni recovering from a foot injury, Deschamps also recalled N’Golo Kante, who had not featured for France since June 2022, despite his move to Saudi Arabia.

The infatigable Kante will be ready to steady up the midfield if needed, Deschamps believes.

“He’s back to full fitness and with all his experience, I’m convinced that the French team will be stronger with N’Golo Kante,” he said.


Provisional Squad

Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (West Ham United/ENG), Mike Maignan (AC Milan/ITA), Brice Samba (Lens)

Defenders: Jonathan Clauss (Marseille), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool/ENG), William Saliba (Arsenal/ENG), Jules Kounde (Barcelona/ESP), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan/ITA), Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid/ESP), Benjamin Pavard (Inter Milan/ITA), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich/GER)

Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Al Ittihad/KSA), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid/ESP), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus/ITA), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid/ESP), Warren Zaire-Emery (Paris Saint-Germain), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco)

Forwards: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Bradley Barcola (Paris Saint-Germain), Ousmane Dembele (Paris Saint-Germain), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich/GER), Marcus Thuram (Inter Milan/ITA), Randal Kolo Muani (Paris Saint-Germain), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan/ITA)


France vs Austria – June 18, Tuesday – 12:30 AM

France vs Netherlands – June 22, Saturday – 12:30 AM

France vs Poland – June 25, Tuesday – 9:30 PM


All of France’s matches at Euro 2024 will be telecasted on the Sony Sports Network. The matches will also be live-streamed on the SonyLIV app.

(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)