After a summer where France became World Champions for the second time, last season was never going to deliver the same levels of elation.
And, how could they not be? The entirety of the 2018 winning side is still getting better, and they have a wealth of talent coming through, spearheaded by superstar forward Kylian Mbappe.
RealSport looks at how they could line-up and be rated on FIFA 20.
Hugo Lloris (OVR 88 - 87)
In many ways, Hugo Lloris’s World Cup campaign characterised his career - fine leadership, spectacular saves then a needless mistake gifting Mario Mandzukic a tap-in in the final. Of course, they didn’t lose but Lloris was guilty of further stupidity when he was caught driving under the influence soon after. He largely recovered to have a decent season but suffers a one-point rating drop due to those errors seem to have crept into his game a little more recently, despite some vital saves for Spurs last season.
Benjamin Pavard (OVR 80 - 82)
Position: CB, RB
Club: Bayern Munich
During the World Cup, Benjamin Pavard was a beneficiary of a lack of French options at right-back, but his performances for Stuttgart and the national team have justified his selection - plus, his strike against Argentina will go down in folklore. He’s still only 23 and has earned a big-money move to Bayern Munich this summer - as all good young Bundesliga players seem to do. It will be interesting to see where in the back-line Niko Kovac fits him.
Raphael Varane (OVR 86 - 86)
Club: Real Madrid
Trophy-wise, Raphael Varane had the best 2018 in football, picking up World Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup medals. Consequently, Varane finished seventh in the Ballon d'Or standings. He may not quite be the seventh-best player in the world, but is still a great defender. After a season in a struggling Madrid defence, his rating should stay at 86.
Samuel Umtiti (OVR 87 - 85)
Samuel Umtiti showed what a wonderful player he can be at the World Cup - solid at the back and lethal in the air. Sadly, his knees seem permanently damaged, his fitness, therefore, can’t be relied upon. He’s now lost his place in Barcelona starting line-up to Clement Lenglet, who may well challenge him for a place in the national team next year. A lack of playing time sees his rating drop to 85.
Lucas Hernandez (OVR 83 - 84)
Position: LB, CB
Club: Bayern Munich
Having grown up in the Atletico Madrid academy, Lucas Hernandez actually declared a willingness to play for Spain just before receiving his first France call-up. He’s another Frenchman subject of a big move to Bayern Munich this summer, a £68 million transfer that made him the most expensive Bundesliga player in history. It’s worth watching whether Niko Kovac drops David Alaba to use him at his preferred left-back, or uses him at centre-back at the expense of his compatriot Pavard.
N’Golo Kante (OVR 89 - 89)
Position: CDM, CM
For a player that’s characterised by doing his business quietly and efficiently, last season was a noisy one for N’Golo Kante. Not that the noise was being made by him, rather by Chelsea fans protesting Maurizio Sarri using him in an advanced role. Hopefully, we’ll see Kante revert to his “hoover” role under Frank Lampard, a position in which he is the best in the world.
Paul Pogba (OVR 88 - 88)
Position: CM, CAM
Club: Manchester United
Paul Pogba may the most infuriating player in world football. He entered last season off the back of a phenomenal World Cup where he displayed leadership characteristics unseen before to effectively disappearing for Manchester United under Jose Mourinho. He reverted to his best self during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s early reign and again, proved that, on his day, he’s one of the world’s finest midfielders. After a tempestuous season, his rating stays on 88.
Blaise Matuidi (OVR 85 - 84)
Position: CDM, CM, LM
Blaise Matuidi will never be a headline-stealer but is often exactly what France need, counteracting the flair of the star names that fill the other two attacking midfield spots. He enjoyed another solid, unremarkable season for Juventus last year, but may struggle for playing time with the arrival of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. At 32, he’s approaching the end of his France career and will drop one point to 84.
Antoine Griezmann (OVR 89 - 90)
Position: CF, ST
Kylian Mbappe’s rapid rise means that Griezmann is no longer Les Blues’ main man, but he’s still a superstar. This season saw him overturn his widely mocked “La Decision” documentary to complete a long-awaited move to Barcelona. At Atletico, he was a sprinkling of flair in a rigid, meticulously drilled side. At Barcelona, he’ll be part of an elite front three with the experience and quality to unlock any defence. Keep an eye on whether sharing the spotlight suits him or not.
Kylian Mbappe (OVR 88 - 90)
Position: RW, ST
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
France’s 4-3 Round of 16 victory over Argentina felt like a symbolic moment - as if a baton was being passed from Lionel Messi to football’s new golden boy. Mbappe used the World Cup to announce himself as arguably the most exciting young prospect since Messi himself. He followed it up with a stellar season for PSG, netting 33 league goals, over a goal-per-game. Surely, a future Ballon d’Or winner.
Olivier Giroud (OVR 82 - 81)
Olivier Giroud is essentially a purpose player for France, he’s not the most talented player in the side, but he’s incredibly effective. Essentially, he plays as a deep-lying target man that Mbappe and Griezmann can bounce off. He’s also scored 35 goals for his country, making him their third-highest scorer of all time. A season where he was often behind Alvaro Morata then Gonzalo Higuain in Chelsea’s pecking order sees him drop to 81.
On the bench
Alphonse Areola (OVR 81 - 81) will deputise behind Lloris. With Gianluigi Buffon having left PSG, this could be a breakout season for the young keeper.
In defence, France have excellent cover in Clement Lenglet (OVR 82 - 84), who has been impressing alongside Gerard Pique for Barcelona. Presnel Kimpembe (OVR 83 - 83) and Lucas Digne (OVR 81 - 82) are also top-class back-up options. Surely Didier Deschamps needs to pick Manchester City centre back Aymeric Laporte (OVR 84 - 84) who made the Premier League Team of the Season.
In the centre of midfield, France have Lyon to thank for a hugely exciting pair of young centre-mids in Houssem Aouar (OVR 78 - 81) and Tanguy Ndombele (OVR 80 - 83). Ndombele has earned a big-money move to Tottenham this summer, Aouar is likely to get his next year.
In attack, France have several young players who recently have been failing to live up to their massive potential. Ousmane Dembele (OVR 84 - 84) and Anthony Martial (OVR 84 - 83) are arguably hindered by their own attitude, while Thomas Lemar (OVR 83 - 82) has struggled in his first season at Atletico. One great option, however, is Kingsley Coman (OVR 83 - 85) who is extremely dangerous when fit.