6. Antoine Griezmann
Had France won Euro 2016, Antoine Griezmann wouldn’t be on this list. He was instrumental in getting Les Bleus to the final that year, and he’ll have to be just as good if they’re to make it to the final in Russia. France are more talented than they were two years ago, but will need to be at their very best to beat Brazil, Germany or Spain. Griezmann is key.
Tactically, he’s been a perfect for Didier Deschamps, who may be out of a job if he fails to bring the trophy back to France. At Euro 2016, Griezmann played as the number 10 in a 4-2-3-1, behind Olivier Giroud, but he can also lead the line in a 4-3-3 if Deschamps wants Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele in his starting XI.
Deschamps could also pull a page out of Diego Simeone’s playbook, and pair Griezmann with Giroud or Mbappe in a 4-4-2. That the manager has so many options is an indication of how deep this team are, but it also highlights what could prove their undoing: the lack of a clear game plan. However they line up, Griezmann will be the key player.
The Atletico Madrid man has regressed somewhat since Euro 2016, when he seemed poised to become one of the very best players in the world. He’s not far off, and his strong finish to the season bodes well for France this summer, but this tournament could prove another springboard as he looks to take the next step in his career.