Tonight in the Stade de France, Didier Deschamps Les Bleus take on Spain in their first game since they were beaten 1-0 by World Champions Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The main story from the French camp is that Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko is set to start for France, taking advantage of the poor form of his former teammate Yohan Cabaye.
In his first squad since the World Cup, Deschamps played it safe and only made two changes from the 23-man selection that went to Brazil. Both changes were forced rather than the beginnings of a new-era. Goalkeeper Michael Landreau retired after the World Cup, his place has been taken by Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. The other change is the inclusion of Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette; he replaces the injured Arsenal striker, Olivier Giroud.
Over the last 24 hours, the rumours have been building that Deschamps will select Sissoko from the start on Thursday night. The France coach will start with the 4-3-3 formation that they played in Brazil. Sissoko will play beside Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi in the three-man midfield. Sissoko was excellent in Brazil when Deschamps called on him. He started against Switzerland and added protection to Mathieu Debuchy at right-back, and also added to the attacking options.
Sissoko is one of Deschamps favourite players within the squad. He feels that the Newcastle United man brings something different to the normal midfielders. His pace and physicality adds a new dimension to the midfield. It is ideal that Deschamps is rewarding the former Toulouse player for his hard work within the squad.
There is also talk that Deschamps could slightly change the formation to 4-2-3-1 which highlights Sissoko’s versatility. Pogba and Matuidi would play centrally; Valbuena would play the No. 10 role with Sissoko on the right.
France are starting their two year run of friendlies in the build up to Euro 2016 and Deschamps admitted with this first squad he wanted continuity and not to make too many changes. They will come after, but with Sissoko continuing to impress, it should put him in a great position for a place in the home nation’s squad.