France aren’t World Cup favourites – here’s why they should be

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According to our odds, Brazil and England are the favourites to win this summer’s World Cup.

French are third in the betting at 4/1. But we reckon there’s good reason to believe Les Bleus should be heading the market.

Here’s why…

Potential realised

France took a while to get going in Russia. They struggled against Australia and Peru. But against Argentina, they finally showed their attacking prowess.

Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe are very different types of striker, but between them boast every crucial asset required to go far in a World Cup.

It all came together when Deschamps’ men hit four in the second round. Any early-tournament doubts were firmly erased and will have been replaced with brimming confidence.

Mighty Mbappe

All the pre-tournament talk was of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the World Cup is turning into Mbappe’s show.

The Paris Saint-Germain ace bagged the winner against Peru, before truly coming of age against Argentina.

His stunning pace proved too much for the Argies’ aging and terrified back-line. Mbappe is still a teenager but has already shown composure far beyond his years. On current form he’s the most dangerous forward in the tournament.

Defensive solidity

France have conceded four goals in Russia, but one of those was a penalty, one was a deflection and one was an Angel Di Maria wonder-hit.

In truth, the French have only conceded once from traditional open play, and that was only because of Messi’s magic left-peg.

Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti are as good a defensive partnership as you’ll come across in the World Cup. They’re excellent in the air, composed on the ground and have built a firm understanding of each other’s game.

The duo have been ably supported on the flanks by Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez. Both players have enjoyed excellent tournaments thus far, and it all adds up for an excellent four-some at the back.

Pogba revels with Kante

Paul Pogba endured a difficult season with Manchester United, but the 25-year-old is having a far better time of things on the national scene.

Playing alongside N’Golo Kante, Pogba is revelling and France have benefitted greatly from it.

Kante’s expert positioning and ability to clear up everything in his own half is allowing Pogba a freedom to roam of which he was rarely given at Old Trafford.

With the Chelsea man behind him, Pogba has been turning defence into attack with world class quality and is performing very much like the player Man United paid £90m for.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication

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