Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann are BANKED for France’s final Group D game against Tunisia… while Axel Disasi is a surprise inclusion at Didier Deschamps’ right-back
Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann have been benched by Didier Deschamps for France’s final Group D clash against Tunisia this afternoon.
The Blues made a perfect start to their World Cup defence, beating Australia and Denmark to secure rapid progress to the last 16.
France need just one point to secure top spot in Group D, giving them a potentially easier game in the round of 16, although it could be Argentina who they face.
France boss Didier Deschamps opted to bench Kylian Mbappe for his final Group D game
Antoine Griezmann (centre) has also been named as a substitute for today’s clash
With maximum points in his previous two outings, Deschamps has afforded himself the luxury of rotating his squad for their final group game, which will be a major boost given the long list of injuries the player has. 54-year-old must negotiate.
Karim Benzema, Christopher Nkunku, N’Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez are all unavailable for the defending champions.
With a growing injury list, Deschamps tried to play Eduardo Camavinga at left-back in a practice game to test his ability to cover possible injured Hernandez – and the 20-year-old starts in defense today .
Monaco’s Axel Disasi, usually a centre-back, was also named as a right-back.
There was previously talk of a potential departure for Steve Mandanda, with captain Hugo Lloris resting ahead of the knockout stages, and it is indeed the 37-year-old veteran who starts between the sticks today.
Former Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guandouzi, who now plays for French side Marseille, has also been given a starting role in midfield.
Confirmed France XI: Mandanda; Disasi, Varane, Konate, Camavinga; Coman, Tchouameni, Veretout, Guendouzi; Kolo Muani.
Confirmed Tunisia XI: Dahmen; Meriah, Ghandri, Talbi; Kechrida, Skhiri, Laidouni, Maaloul; Slimane, Khazri, Romdhane.
Didier Deschamps was able to rotate his team with France safely until the round of 16
Eduardo Camavinga trained at left-back and starts defending for France today
Veteran goalkeeper Steve Mandanda also played a starting role with captain Hugo Lloris on the bench.
France’s World Cup squad has been hit with injuries ahead of the World Cup – including Karim Benzema
France are looking to become the third team to confirm a place in the last 16 as group winners, with the Netherlands and England becoming the first teams to do so on Tuesday.
The outcome of this afternoon’s clash will have important ramifications for the evening fixtures, where Argentina and Poland will face off, knowing most likely that finishing second in the group will set up an unwanted clash against France in the next round. .
Group top France would face the Group C runners-up on Sunday December 4 at the Al Thumama Stadium, with kick-off at 3pm.
Should the unthinkable happen and France finish second, they will play on Saturday December 3 at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, kicking off at 7pm.