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Why hosts France are the team to beat at Euro 2016

France have struggled to inspire confidence on the big stage in recent years but all of that may be about to change at this summer’s European Championship. As hosts of the tournament, Didier Deschamps’ men will have plenty of pressure on their shoulders, however, this France team are capable of going all the way and getting their hands on a major international trophy for the first time since 2000. There are plenty of other contenders who will fancy their chances but it’s hard to look away from France’s sheer passion, hunger and desire to succeed on the international stage.

While some may have accused France of being over-reliant on individuals in previous years, that is no longer the case. Deschamps now has an impressive pool of talent at his disposal and it would take a brave man to back against France on home soil this summer. As of January 15th, the Euro 2016 odds show that France are 7/2 with around five months until the tournament gets under way. If France are lucky on the injury front, there’s absolutely no reason why they cannot go all the way in front of their passionate home supporters.

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As previously mentioned, Deschamps has a strong group of players to choose from and France’s depth is a key reason why many believe they will go on to win the tournament. Defensively, they are solid. Hugo Lloris is a competent shot-stopper and is capable of playing the ‘sweeper keeper’ role well – even if he’s not quite as proficient as Germany’s Manuel Neuer. In front of Lloris, the likes of Bacary Sagna, Patrice Evra, Raphael Varane and Mamadou Sakho are likely to be included in Deschamps’ squad and all four are experienced at both club and international level.

It could be argued that France have the best group of midfielders in Europe and that could be the key difference for Deschamps’ men throughout the competition. Paul Pogba and Yohan Cabaye will be central to their success and the former is likely to be the key man for France in the summer. He’s been an integral part of Juventus’ recent success and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Pogba play a key role on the international stage. In fact, he will be one of the dark horses to finish as the Player of the Tournament.

Going forward, France have talent in abundance. Whether you’re looking at Karim Benzema or Olivier Giroud to lead the line, both players are exceptional footballers and are capable of spearheading France’s bid for European glory. On either side of the ‘number 9′, Antoine Griezmann has been in form for Atletico Madrid this season while Anthony Martial has been finding his feet at Manchester United. Opposing defences will be terrified at the prospect of facing both stars in the same contest. If Deschamps gets his squad selection spot on, France will stand a great chance of winning the tournament.

If they perform at their best and everything clicks, of course France can win the competition. In previous major tournaments, the French have crumbled but it’s hard to see them doing that under Deschamps’ leadership. They showed plenty of quality in the 2014 World Cup but crashed out to eventual winners Germany. However, this could be their year. With a bit of luck, France could be crowned European champions for a joint-record third time.

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