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Meet the quarter-final opposition: France

Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann have caught the eye, but the hosts need to address their slow starts to matches, as EURO2016.com's David Crossan explains.

Meet the quarter-final opposition: France
Meet the quarter-final opposition: France ©Getty Images

Nickname: Les Bleus

Story so far: France topped Group A thanks to last-gasp wins against Romania and Albania and a goalless draw with Switzerland. Coach Didier Deschamps has shown an ability to correct problems with his slow-starting side. That tactical nous was again required in the round of 16 against the Republic of Ireland, when a recalibration into a 4-2-3-1 and an Antoine Griezmann double took France through after falling behind.

Route to last eight: 2-1 Romania, 2-0 Albania, 0-0 Switzerland, 2-1 Republic of Ireland

Star performer: Griezmann's heroics against the Irish on Sunday didn't see him usurp Dimitri Payet as France's outstanding player. The 29-year-old attacker has managed two goals and an assist already and has been a constant menace.

Didier Deschamps still faces several issues
Didier Deschamps still faces several issues©AFP/Getty Images

Best moment: For pure emotion, it has to be Payet's incredible left-foot winner against Romania in the tournament opener. Les Bleus were heading for a disappointing draw until that moment of brilliance from the No8, who celebrated his strike in teary fashion as he contemplated his journey – having spent June 2015 to March 2016 in the international wilderness.

Strengths: France possess individuals capable of turning a game in an instant and there can be no doubting the mental resolve of Deschamps's tight-knit squad. The coach's knack of righting tactical wrongs is crucial.

Weaknesses: France have started matches at a snail's pace. Moreover, they have already conceded two penalties and doubts are invited by their rejigged defence's susceptibility to set plays and balls played in behind the centre-halves.

Quarter-final prediction: If Iceland's magnificent victory against England was a result for the ages, there would be an eruption of Eyjafjallajokull proportions were they to repeat that against the hosts. I predict a 2-0 France win.

What are they singing? Allez les Bleus! (Come on you Blues!)

Celebrity fans: Matt Pokora (singer), François Hollande (President), Clovis Cornillac (Astérix actor)

Tell us something we didn't know: Griezmann's goal celebration against Ireland was lifted from the Drake video for Hotline Bling; Kingsley Coman is afraid of spiders; and Laurent Koscielny uses the familiar 'tu' form when addressing French President Hollande.