Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: 5 Weakest Links For France

2014 World Cup: 5 Weak Links For France

France team photo before game against Ukraine
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France have only made it out of the group stage once since they last won the World Cup back in 1998, and they will be looking for a successful showing at this year's tournament in Brazil. Internal squabbling hampered their attempt to win Euro 2012, as well as the World Cup in 2010, and current manager Didier Deschamps will have to keep the squad all on the same page if France are to be successful this time around.

5. Left-Back

Patrice Evra left-back for France
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5. Left-Back

Patrice Evra left-back for France
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Patrice Evra has had a poor season at Manchester United, although he is not the only one, of course. For a few years, though, Evra has increasingly looked like a weakness in the United back four, and now France will rely on him to play in their back line at this year's World Cup. The backup option is 20-year-old Lucas Digne who is still slowly learning about the top level, so at this stage, France will play Evra for better or worse.

4. Right Midfield

Samir Nasri sits on the France bench
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4. Right Midfield

Samir Nasri sits on the France bench
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Didier Deschamps chose to leave Samir Nasri at home in the name of squad morale. That's all well and good until you have to field an inferior player when the time comes to play your first group game. Mathieu Valbuena looks to be the most likely candidate to fill the spot on the right of midfield. Loic Remy seems to be the backup option, although he is more of a striker. It's not ideal, but it's what Deschamps chose.

3. Center-Back Woes

Laurent Koscielny defends for France against Spain
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3. Center-Back Woes

Laurent Koscielny defends for France against Spain
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France have four extremely capable center-backs to choose from to anchor their defense. During their club seasons this year, however, three of the four have endured troubled campaigns. Raphael Varane has had an injury hit season; Eliaquim Mangala is one of the biggest talents in Europe, but he has endured a subpar season at Porto; and Mamadou Sakho has struggled to solidify a place in Liverpool's team and looked unconvincing when he has played.

2. World Cup Inexperience

Blaise Matuidi and Mathieu Valbuena of France
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2. World Cup Inexperience

Blaise Matuidi and Mathieu Valbuena of France
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The 23-man squad named by Didier Deschamps is an inexperienced one as far as World Cups go. Of the projected starting XI, only three players (Franck Ribery, Huge Lloris and Patrice Evra) have started at a World Cup before and one more player (Mathieu Valbuena) has made a single substitute appearance. It's an inexperienced squad, and that's something that can go in your favor at times and against you at others.

1. Potential To Implode

Laurent Koscielny is sent off against Ukraine
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1. Potential To Implode

Laurent Koscielny is sent off against Ukraine
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The French have been masters of their own downfall at times. In recent international tournaments, off-field problems within the playing squad have plagued their on-field performances. Deschamps has clearly tried to solve these issues and left out Samir Nasri for morale reasons more than anything else to aid the cohesion of the group. Whether the problems are solved or they resurface again will be defining for Les Bleus.