UEFA Euro 2016 contenders: France

The hosts of Euro 2016 will be amongst the favourites to win the tournament. Didier Deschamps has assembled a strong unit that is littered with quality players across all areas of the pitch.

Tottenham Hotspur first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will be the number 1 for Les Bleus and will also wear the captain’s armband at his home tournament. Ahead of him there are exceptional defenders in the likes of Rapahael Varane, Kurt Zouma, Laurent Koscielny, Lucas Digne and Bacary Sagna amongst others. The defence looks one of the strongest points for the French and if they manage to gel together then it will be difficult for their opposition to breach their backline. Koscielny, especially, has been in exceptional form for Arsenal in the league this season and Deschamps will hope that the defender brings his good form to the national team.

The midfield of Les Bleus is also well balanced with players like Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Mathieu Valbuena, Moussa Sissoko, Morgan Schneiderlin and Yohan Cabaye in the middle of the park. The varied set of skills possessed by the midfielders gives Deschamps a lot of options to opt for depending upon the opposition and match situation.

The forward line will definitely miss the quality of Karim Benzema, in case he fails to resolve his off-field issues and make a return to the first team. However, France still possess an array of attacking talent in players like Atletico Madrid hitman Antoine Griezmann, Arsenal frontman Olivier Giroud, Manchester United’ Anthony Martial and Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman.

France have been handed a relatively easy Group A that consists of Romania, Albania and Switzerland. None of the three sides appear stronger than France and the hosts will fancy their chances of easily topping the Group A ahead of their rivals.

Les Bleus are expected to go all the way to the finals and their likely challengers for the coveted trophy are expected to be Spain, Italy and Germany. France exited the World Cup last summer after losing to Germany narrowly and it will be an enticing prospect to see the two sides face-off again next summer.