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France colts on target for UEFA EURO 2016

Published: Thursday 17 July 2014, 13.00CET
Some of the young stars of the French national team should be hitting their absolute peak at UEFA EURO 2016 on home soil, according to Christian Châtelet.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris
France colts on target for UEFA EURO 2016
France's younger stars will be hitting their peak at UEFA EURO 2016 ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Thursday 17 July 2014, 13.00CET

France colts on target for UEFA EURO 2016

Some of the young stars of the French national team should be hitting their absolute peak at UEFA EURO 2016 on home soil, according to Christian Châtelet.

With a team packed with young players powering Germany to glory at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, UEFA.com picks out five exciting talents who will hope to be giving France a chance of victory on home soil when UEFA EURO 2016 kicks off in two summers' time.

©AFP/Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann
Forward, Real Sociedad de Fútbol
After Franck Ribéry was forced to pull out with a back injury, Real Sociedad winger Griezmann had some big shoes to fill at the World Cup finals in Brazil, with the 23-year-old performing admirably – even though he did not score. Griezmann showed a maturity that some feared he lacked when he was banned from national-team football for over a year in 2012 after a breach of curfew when on duty with the Under-21s. "He is very efficient, he scores a lot of goals," said Didier Deschamps. "And he makes others score."

©AFP/Getty Images

Paul Pogba
Midfielder, Juventus
As France bowed out of the World Cup, Pogba was quick to refocus on the task ahead, the Le Havre AC academy graduate tweeting: "Our main target remains EURO 2016." When the finals kick off, the Juventus midfielder will be just 23, but he has already been several times around the footballing block. A Manchester United FC hopeful under Sir Alex Ferguson, he captained France to success at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and shone in Serie A before a goal and a series of determined performances earned him the official Young Player Award in Brazil.

©AFP/Getty Images

Mamadou Sakho
Defender, Liverpool FC
Two goals in the play-off decider against Ukraine prompted a sharp rise in Sakho's footballing stock in France, and the 24-year-old was to be Deschamps' first-choice centre-back at the finals. "He's a young player, who plays a very important role in my squad," the France coach explained. A real physical presence and a fine passer of the ball, Les Bleus' vice-captain can take a lot from his adventure in Brazil, and can only benefit from spending the upcoming season in the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool.

©Getty Images

Raphaël Varane
Defender, Real Madrid CF
The 21-year-old central defender featured in all 120 minutes of Madrid's UEFA Champions League final victory against Club Atlético de Madrid, and the former RC Lens man showed the same composure and assurance at the World Cup finals, where he made the shortlist for the Young Player award – ultimately losing out to Pogba. "We experienced great emotions," he said after France's quarter-final exit to Germany. "I think the fans can be proud of us. I hope it’s a herald of better things to come for us."

©AFP/Getty Images

Clément Grenier
Midfielder, Olympique Lyonnais
Forced to withdraw from the World Cup squad a week before the finals with a groin injury, Grenier should still be a key component of France's midfield three for years to come, the 23-year-old Lyon man specialising in unlocking tight defences and delivering from dead-ball situations. "He can play all across midfield, on the left, on the right or behind the striker," Deschamps said of the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship winner. "He is a very skilful player who covers a lot of ground. He knows how to make his team-mates shine."

Last updated: 17/07/14 13.31CET

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