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France, Germany are World Cup favourites

World Cup
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Fekir ready to be Zidane's heir?

France
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World Cup favourites France and Germany look to set marker of success

Shaka Hislop and Mark Donaldson look at France's new generation of players and who the best natural leader is.

France and Germany meet on Tuesday in an international friendly, with both teams favourites to win the World Cup next year. Ahead of the game, Julien Laurens and Raphael Honigstein got to talking ...

Julien gets the debate going:

Raf, I was thinking of you the other day when someone asked me about the France vs. Germany semifinal at Euro 2016.

We were both there in Marseille and it was a special evening. The noise inside the Stade Velodrome was incredible and France played in a clinical way...

Who will lead France's next generation: Griezmann, Pogba or Mbappe?

Shaka Hislop and Mark Donaldson look at France's new generation of players and who the best natural leader is.

In its long history, the French national team has only ever achieved great things in the way of one outstanding leader. In 1958, les Bleus had Raymond Kopa and finished third at the World Cup. Michel Platini guided his team to triumph at Euro 1984 and two World Cup semifinals in 1982 and 1986. Just over 20 years later, it was Zinedine Zidane's turn to lead France to success with the 1998 World Cup, the 2000 Euros and then take the team to the 2006 World Cup final as well.

Of course, all of them...

 By Chris Wright

Arsenal and France striker Olivier Giroud takes on Welsh language

Olivier Giroud has been busy preparing for France's friendly against Wales on Friday evening by attempting to master a key few Welsh phrases.

During a prematch news conference, Giroud took part in an impromptu language lesson with the aid of a Welsh journalist in attendance, who taught the the Arsenal striker how to say "Good evening" and "Thank-you very much" in her native tongue.

Not a bad effort for a first-timer, though the pronunciation definitely needs a bit of work.

Les Bleus are set to take...

Is Nabil Fekir ready to become the heir to Zinedine Zidane's France throne?

One of the greatest goals scored in Europe so far this season came in August. Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir received the ball near the halfway line and stunned Bordeaux goalkeeper Benoit Costil by sending it into the net with a shot that kept rising and rising. It was a sensational effort that was even more remarkable considering it came from Fekir's weaker right foot.

It was a shot reminiscent of Zinedine Zidane's goal for Bordeaux in 1995 that also came from an outrageous distance off his weaker...

Things for France to fix: Deschamps' tactics, right role for Kylian Mbappe

Steve Nicol explains why France could be done in by increasing pressure from their supporters and the media.

It has been laborious at times, with some very average performances in a group they should have easily bossed and with the feeling that there has been no genuine progress since the Euro 2016 final, but France have eventually qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The most important was to get there and now the hard work starts for Didier Deschamps.

All the current question marks surrounding France are linked to him and his management. The head coach has been criticised these past few months...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

How France or Spain can be seeded at the World Cup finals for Russia 2018

France and Spain both still harbour hopes of being seeded at the World Cup finals in the Dec. 1 group-stage draw. And Wales' failure to qualify certainly gives France a bit of outside hope.

The top-seven nations to qualify, based on FIFA's October World Ranking, will join Russia as seeds. 

Guaranteed to be seeded (if they qualify) are: Russia (as hosts), Germany, Poland and Brazil (already qualified), Portugal, Belgium and Argentina.

This leaves at least one space open, and in the September...