Football

France v Honduras team sheet

Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann start.
Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann start..

Didier Deschamps made sure to outline the difficult task France face in their World Cup opener against Honduras on Sunday, although Les Bleus remain overwhelming favourites to secure victory against their significantly lower ranked opponents.

There are 19 places separating these two teams in the FIFA world rankings and France could not have hoped for a much more straightforward encounter to begin their campaign, although Deschamps was naturally keen to play down his side's favourites tag prior to the meeting.

"The difficulty of the first game also comes into it, with the different levels of preparation," Deschamps told reporters. "Brazil's first match wasn't easy against Croatia, either, and ours won't be easy."

Honduras were able to gain a notable draw against England in their last outing a week ago in Miami but, prior to then, had lost three and won only one of their previous six international outings. If France to not win, it will represent a far more ignominious start than their dreadful campaign four years previous.

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France youngsters have chance to shine

This game represents an opportunity for some of the French squad to really stake claims as regular starters, and this applies to Antoine Griezmann perhaps more than most. The forward enjoyed an excellent season for Real Sociedad, and has been chosen by Deschamps as the man to replace the injured Franck Ribery in the starting XI against Honduras...

France: Lloris (c), Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi; Griezmann, Benzema, Valbuena.

Hondruas: Valladares, Izaguirre, Figueroa, Bernardez, Beckeles, Palacios, Garrido, Espinoza, Chavez, Bengtson, Costly.

Griezmann is included ahead of Olivier Giroud, who was in contention to play alongside Karim Benzema in a France front two. The Arsenal striker had been confident of his inclusion after impressing in the pre-tournament friendlies, but misses out.

Another notable inclusion is that of Raphael Varane who, along with Paul Pogba, very much represents the future of French football. The duo, both aged 21, are plying their trades at two of the most prominent clubs in world football, and now is their chance to perform to distinction for their country on the global stage.

This game kicks-off at 20:00 BST from the Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre.

Topics:
World Cup
Football
Internationals
Yohan Cabaye

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