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Euro 2016

Euro 2016 Status Report: France

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France's national soccer team player Paul Pogba attends a training session at the team training centre of Clairefontaine, near Paris, France, March 22, 2016

Image credit: Reuters

ByMaxime Dupuis
24/03/2016 at 12:00 | Updated 24/03/2016 at 12:34
@maximedupuis

With the Euro 2016 finals now just three months away, the international break will be vital to help coaches establish which players they should be naming.

After this week’s packed schedule, with each country playing twice, there are only two friendly slots remaining before the 23-man squads have to be announced on May 31 – so countries are running out of time to test new players.

We have drawn on our extensive European network of websites to bring you our expert insight into how the Euro 2016 contenders are shaping up. Here Maxime Depuis, from Eurosport France, looks at how the Didier Deschamps' team is shaping up...

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[RELATED: Euro 2016 Status Report: England]

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INTERNATIONAL WEEK FIXTURES

Friday, March 25: Netherlands (A)

Tuesday, March 29: Russia (H)

WHAT ARE THE BIG TALKING POINTS?

1) Benzema? Valbuena? The two are not in the squad this time again. The first because he’s not allowed to. The second because he is in poor form. Which of them will go to the Euros? That is the question.

France's Mathieu Valbuena (L) challenges Armenia's Artur Yuspashyan during their friendly soccer match at Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, October 8, 2015.

Image credit: Reuters

2) Kanté and Payet are here/back: The two play an important part of their participation for the Euros. They have two games to win their place in the squad. They were far from doing this a few weeks ago.

3) Defence: Normally, the back four is Bacary Sagna, Raphael Varane, Laurent Koscielny and Patrice Evra. And, for now, they are not always playing for their club or are not playing well for France. But we don’t really have a plan B..

WHAT DOES THE MANAGER SAY?

"I have convictions I know where I want to go. But there are intangibles you cannot handle ever. You saw it during the last World Cup. It's better to have anticipated it and to have plan B and C, as you say. I hope nobody will have any physical problems so I'll have a huge amount of choice."

WHAT DOES THE TEAM LOOK LIKE?

This has a big question mark because of Benzema. If he goes to the tournament, he’d play No 9, with Griezmann alongside and… Martial/Coman or… Valbuena. It’s a little bit of a mess because of the sextape affair. If Benzema does not go? Griezmann or Giroud as the main striker, Martial on the left, Griezmann on the right (if he’s not in front)… Or Coman. For the rest, it’s clearer: Lloris, Sagna, Varane, Koscielny, Evra, Diarra, Matuidi, Pogba…

WHO COULD STILL BREAK INTO THE SQUAD?

Two guys: Nabil Fekir, who tore cruciate ligaments in September, but it will be tough for him to make it in time and Deschamps knows it. There is also Hatem Ben Arfa - as usual - but Coman is in front of him in the pecking order.

CURRENT SQUAD IN FULL

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Benoit Costil (Rennes)

Defenders: Patrice Evra (Juventus), Lucas Digne (AS Roma), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Christophe Jallet (Lyon)

Midfielders: Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), N’Golo Kanté (Leicester City), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)

Forwards: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Dimitri Payet (West Ham United), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Andre Pierre Gignac (Tigres)

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