What are France’s Chances of Winning the World Cup for a Second Consecutive Time
At Russia 2018, French goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris, led his team to their second World Cup title. After lifting the trophy on home soil in 1998, France were among the favourites, but few expected them to coast to victory with such relative ease.
Four years later, many of the squad that tasted success in Russia are preparing for the defence. Can they become the first nation since Brazil in 1962 to win two World Cups in succession? What are the chances of back-to-back titles?
There is definite support among the bookmakers. France are currently second favourites to win the World Cup in Qatar and the majority of football betting operators are offering odds of 11/2.
To assess France’s hopes of winning the trophy for a third time, we should firstly consider their closest challengers. Which country is in front of Head Coach Didier Deschamps and his men and who are listed alongside them in the chasing pack?
According to those same sportsbooks, Brazil are the favourites for glory in Qatar. Overall records are on their side: They are the most successful nation in the 92-year history of the World Cup with five wins.
The issue with history is that it isn’t always relevant to the modern day. Brazil’s most recent success in a world cup final came back in 2002. Twenty years of hurt has elapsed, but this is a strong team with solid recent results which include consecutive 4-0 home wins over South American rivals Paraguay and Chile.
In Neymar, Brazil have one of the most prolific strikers in world football, but their position as favourites is debatable. The French could face a bigger challenge from England who are progressing well under coach Gareth Southgate.
England made the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 before appearing in the final of Euro 2020. This is a young and developing team who will be hopeful of going one better this time.
France will rely heavily on their front line at Qatar 2022. The team plays an attacking style under Deschamps, and they have a productive strikeforce who can score the vital goals needed to get their team over the line.
Antoine Griezman is one of the most experienced strikers at the World Cup and he was handed the Man of the Match award at the end of the 2018 World Cup final. Griezman is likely to start alongside PSG’s Kylian Mbappe while the manager has the options of Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema on the bench.
Between them, those four players have scored over 150 goals at international level. This French team has a strong supporting cast, but the front men will be key to success in Qatar.
The Case for the Defence
Experience is also evident at the back where goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is closing in on 150 international caps. The captain will also go past Lilian Thuram’s record of 142 senior French appearances before 2022 is done.
Any player who has remained at the top for so long must possess some star quality and that’s very much the case here. Lloris will sit behind a French defence which can be their weakness at times. The Croatians exploited this to an extent with two goals in the final in 2018, so this is an area that needs to improve.
Continuity the Key
Could consistency of team selection be a positive factor for France in 2022? They will arrive in Qatar with the same coach and the same captain that guided them to success in Russia four years ago.
In fact, head coach Didier Deschamps can trace his international success all the way back to 1998. He was the national team captain when the country won its first World Cup, on home soil.
Hugo Lloris keeps the skipper’s armband that he wore with pride in Russia while Antoine Griezman and Kylian Mbappe both scored in the final. The fact that so many French players know what it takes to win a World Cup could make all the difference in 2022.
The draw for the group stages of the 2022 World Cup placed France in the same section as Denmark, Australia and Tunisia. The Danes can be dangerous but it’s fair to say that Group D offers a relatively straightforward passage into the knockout rounds.
French opponents from the Round of 16 onwards will depend on results elsewhere, and this is obviously where things will get tougher. The draw has, however, given Didier Deschamps’ men an advantage and they shouldn’t be too drained by the time they reach the second phase.
Can France go Back-to-Back?
The sportsbooks may have a slight preference for Brazil, but there is a lot going for France in 2022. They have that continuity and the fact that they are the defending champions could be a factor in Qatar.
There is quality running right through the squad and that extends to the dugout where Didier Deschamps has such a fine record. France have also been drawn in a relatively easy group and shouldn’t be tested too much in the opening rounds.
History may not be on their side but there is enough depth of talent in this squad to make France the first back-to-back winners of the World Cup in sixty years.