Last Update 20:32
Saturday, 21 September 2019

Euro 2016 final: Five France players to watch

A look at five members of the France team ahead of Sunday's European Championship final against Portugal

AP , Saturday 9 Jul 2016
Views: 703
Views: 703

Hugo Lloris

This is Lloris' fourth major tournament as France's No. 1. The captain demonstrated just how important he is to the title bid late in Thursday's 2-0 semifinal win over Germany, preserving the clean sheet with a fine reflex save to deny Joshua Kimmich. Often acting as the sweeper by rushing off his line to thwart attacks early, the Tottenham goalkeeper can be vulnerable at crosses.

Lloris' leadership off the field has shined in the past year, thoughtfully and eloquently addressing a traumatized nation following the Paris attacks in November. He also addressed the healing potential of soccer in his final media appearance before the final.

Paul Pogba

Often deployed in a deeper role for his dynamic tackling, Pogba has also exhibited his passing range to unlock defenses. However, what France doesn't get from Pogba are goals at the end of his burst through defenses. He's only netted six times in 37 internationals, with his solitary strike at Euro 2016 coming against unheralded Iceland.

Sunday's final could be Pogba's last game before a big-money move from Juventus, with the midfielder having been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Dimitri Payet

Despite fading in the semifinals, Payet's elegancy and efficiency on the ball has been an essential component of France's bid for a first trophy since Euro 2000. It's taken until late in his career for the 29-year-old Payet to become a France regular, having taken six years to reach 25 appearances.

The electrifying midfielder's spectacular goals for West Ham last season secured him a place at Euro 2016 and he delivered with essential goals in the opening two games to ensure the hosts made a perfect start.

Olivier Giroud

With 10 goals in 12 games, Giroud has established himself as a real striking force for France. And yet he continues to divide opinion among fans - both with club side Arsenal and on international duty.

Even scoring in a Euro 2016 warmup game didn't prevent him being jeered by French fans that night. It's the tendency to waste good scoring opportunities, rather than being appreciated for his link-up play, that leaves the 29-year-old Giroud constantly on an uphill mission to prove his quality.

Antoine Griezmann

Small for a striker - at 1.76 meters (5-foot-9) - Griezmann is making a big impact at his home tournament, both in the air and on the ground. The Atletico Madrid striker is the undoubted star of the championship so far and seems destined to take home the Golden Boot as top scorer.

Griezmann has scored six goals in six games - double the tally of teammates Giroud and Dimitri Payet, as well as Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo. Now the French are appreciating Griezmann's quality in France - unlike his teenage years, when he was rejected by several clubs and went to Spain to make it as a professional.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.