France Team - 2014 World Cup Betting
Best Finish: Won in 1998
Manager: Didier Deschamps
Captain: Hugo Lloris
Key Player: Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich)
Group E: With Ecuador, Honduras and Switzerland
The past two decades have seen France experience a lot of World Cup success, most notably the title that they won on their home soil in 1998 and a second-place finish in 2006 – both inspired by retired midfielder Zinedine Zidane. Is a similar run in store for "Les Bleus" in the 2014 World Cup? If so, they're certainly off to a rocky start going back to UEFA Group I qualifiers.
France had a tough draw with Spain in their pool. They played the defending champion to a draw the first time around, but lost to Spain 1-0 the next time. This put France in the position of needing to beat Ukraine in a two-legged playoff. They lost 2-0 in Kiev, but won 3-0 at home, thanks to one goal that they were wrongly awarded (Karim Benzema scoring from offside). Nevertheless, they are in the Cup and looking forward to a pretty good draw.
One notable change that France has made from their disastrous 2010 World Cup appearance is in the managerial department. Didier Deschamps has taken over for Reymond Domenech, who was canned after losing control of his team before France bowed out in group play. Deschamps has since installed a 4-3-3 system that maximizes the potential of this team's fast and powerful players.
Franck Ribéry fits both of these billings and adds a whole lot more in terms of skill. He showed the complete package by leading UEFA Group I in goals with five. Playing on the right, Ribéry will be asked to use his smooth dribbling and control to create problems for the opposition and set himself or teammates up for good shots.
Benzema, Olivier Giroud and Samir Nasri will also play important roles with regard to scoring goals. Giroud looked especially strong in qualifying matches as he scored two goals.
Unlike the majority of teams in the 2014 World Cup, France basically has talent at every position, from strikers to the back line. So the key for Deschamps will be to keep this talent focused and avoiding small mistakes and lapses in judgement. This could be a tall order in Deschamps' first Cup, however, it's a must if they're to advance further than the Last 16 or Quarterfinals.