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Allez Les Bleus – who makes the cut in a combined France XI?

UK Sport | Published:

World Cup winners of 1998 vs World Cup finalists of 2018.

France are looking to win the World Cup for the second time when they face Croatia in Moscow on Saturday.

Their last success came on home soil in 1998 as they proved too strong for Brazil, with a 3-0 victory ensuring the trophy stayed in Paris.

Here, Press Association Sport picks a combined XI from those World Cup winners and the current crop looking to follow in their footsteps.

Hugo Lloris

The Tottenham goalkeeper could become just the second Frenchman to lift the World Cup when he captains his side against Croatia. His calmness in possession and ability to distribute accurately just earns him the nod over Fabien Barthez.

Lilian Thuram

Benjamin Pavard has certainly grown into his position at right-back as the 2018 finals have progressed, even scoring a great goal in the last 16 win over Argentina, but Thuram wins this particular duel hands-down as France’s record cap-holder takes his rightful place in the side.

Raphael Varane

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A four-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Varane showed in the semi-final victory over Belgium that he is one of the best central defenders in the world at present. The 25-year-old has great positioning skills and is always a threat in the air.

Marcel Desailly

Played alongside Laurent Blanc on France’s run to the final in 1998 before partnering Frank Leboeuf in Paris with Blanc banned. Another class act and someone willing to put it all on the line in the name of winning.

Bixente Lizarazu

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Was established as Bayern Munich’s first-choice left-back as well as holding down the role for his country, a consistent performer who without question slots into this team ahead of current incumbent Lucas Hernandez.

Didier Deschamps

In this formation there is only really room for either Deschamps or N’Golo Kante and the Chelsea man is arguably the most unfortunate of the 2018 crop to miss out. Dubbed the ‘water-carrier’ by Eric Cantona, Deschamps lifted the trophy in 1998 and is now the France manager looking to secure a return to the top of the world for his country.

Zinedine Zidane

A brace in the 1998 win over Brazil would be enough on its own to earn Zidane a slot in this midfield – add to that the fact he was one of the best players of his generation and there was no-one to even challenge the inclusion of the 1998 Ballon D’Or winner.

Paul Pogba

Sometimes criticised for his form at Manchester United over the past two seasons, the true talent of Pogba has shone through in Russia as he combines marauding runs with slide-rule passing to great effect.

Kylian Mbappe

The most expensive teenager in world football is part of a front-three all coming from the current era, the Paris Saint Germain forward is surely a future holder of the Ballon D’Or and showed with two great strikes against Argentina just what he can do – will only get better with age.

Antoine Griezmann

1998 came a little too soon for the likes of Robert Pires or Thierry Henry to be involved in the final, both earning winners’ medals as unused substitutes and therefore unable to challenge the technically-gifted Griezmann for a spot in the combined side. The Atletico Madrid man would give them a run for their money anyhow and will be key to unlocking Croatia on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud

Plenty of similarities exist between Chelsea forward Giroud and France’s main striker from two decades ago Stephane Guivarc’h. Both act as the perfect foil for the more creative players around them but, in truth, Giroud is a much better striker with only Henry, Michel Platini and David Trezeguet scoring more than his 31 international goals.

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