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Soccer World Cup

5 Reasons Why France Can Win the 2014 World Cup

5 Reasons Why France Can Win the 2014 World Cup

France soccer fans
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Start partying like it’s Bastille Day. Dance to David Guetta, MC Solaar and Daft Punk with the speakers on full blast. Just be sure not to headbutt anyone. Here are 5 reasons why the French national team can leave Brazil as World Cup champions.

5. A Clean House

Thierry Henry Flourent Malouda France 2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

5. A Clean House

Thierry Henry Flourent Malouda France 2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

France’s 2010 World Cup squad depended on several players in the twilight of their careers. Le Groupe Geriatrique was counting on good play from Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, William Gallas, Eric Abidal and Sidney Govou, all of whom were 30 or older. Flourent Malouda was 29. None of them are on the 2014 squad, which will be a more athletic and dynamic team.

4. Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris France 2014 World Cup
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4. Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris France 2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

To win a World Cup, a nation needs stellar goalkeeping. France’s Hugo Lloris is one of the best in the world. He tallied 14 clean sheets for Tottenham Hotspur in the last Premier League campaign, the one mark of stability in a topsy-turvy season for the club. He is also France’s captain and will provide the leadership that the 2010 squad simply did not have.

3. Reloaded Up Top

Karim Benzema Franck Ribery France 2014 World Cup
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3. Reloaded Up Top

Karim Benzema Franck Ribery France 2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to advance past the group stage when you can only muster one goal in three matches. France’s collection of strikers couldn’t get the ball in the net in 2010. In 2014, Les Bleus are reloaded up front, with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema scoring 46 combined goals this season. Putting one of them up top—and perhaps both at once—will put a real strain on opposing defenses.

2. An Easy Draw

France 2014 World Cup Draw
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

2. An Easy Draw

France 2014 World Cup Draw
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who wants to claim FIFA is fixed can point to France’s draw. Group E features the worst-seeded team in Switzerland, and Honduras, one of the worst of the 32 teams in the tournament. Ecuador can be challenging, but France should be able to waltz through the group stage. If they win Group E, the round of 16 would be just as easy. France might sleepwalk their way into the quarterfinals.

1. History Repeats Itself

Zinedine Zidane France 2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA Today Sports

1. History Repeats Itself

Zinedine Zidane France 2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Eight years ago, Les Bleus were a Zinedine Zidane headbutt away from winning the World Cup. Eight years before that, the French were champions as the host nation. In 2002 and 2010, they were booted out in the group stage. See the pattern? If history repeats itself, as we all know it does, France has to be considered a serious contender for the 2014 trophy. As far as 2018, well, they will have about as much success in Russia as Napoleon did.