France has become the latest nation to release its official squad for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.
As the defending champions, there was a lot of hype surrounding Didier Deschamps’ decision-making, especially given the amount of quality he had at his disposal.
The Frenchman has now finally released his 26-man squad, which features two Barcelona players in the form of Jules Kounde and Ousmane Dembele.
Kounde’s selection barely comes off as a surprise as the Barcelona centre-back has established himself as one of the best young defenders in the world. His speed, athleticism and technical abilities, coupled with his versatility could prove to be handy for France.
Kounde himself has showcased his desire to not only be a part of the French NT but also become a starter for Les Bleus, in their quest to retain the World Cup title. The 23-year-old, though, should face immense competition from Presnel Kimpembe, Lucas Hernandez, Raphael Varane and Dayot Upamecano, among others.
Dembele’s selection, meanwhile, caps off an excellent turnaround year for the Barcelona winger, who was essentially written off from the French NT books 12 months ago.
However, thanks to an excellent end of the 2021/22 campaign, coupled with his growing influence in the Barcelona attack under Xavi, Dembele has earned a place in Deschamps’ setup, though it remains debatable whether or not he will start too many matches.
The former Dortmund starlet, after all, is facing competition from the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Kingsley Coman and Christopher Nkunku, all of who have performed consistently and have a lot of experience under their belt.
Given Dembele’s reputation as an impact player, it will not come as a surprise to see Deschamps utilising Dembele as a super-sub in matches. He may also use him and Coman in alternative matches, even though keeping troops happy will not be the first priority for Les Bleus‘ coach.