How France could line up in 2026 World Cup with XI predicted including Chelsea-bound Christopher Nkunku & Kylian Mbappe
FRANCE could have an exciting new look at the 2026 World Cup.
Didier Deschamps’ men suffered a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Argentina during yesterday’s final in Qatar.
SplashKylian Mbappe is set to become France’s main central striker at the 2026 World Cup[/caption]
And reports claim Zinedine Zidane is now set to lead a new wave of stars for the next World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the USA.
Players including Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud could be done with international football by the time it rolls around.
Meanwhile, the likes of Jules Kounde and Ousmane Dembele will be sweating over their places after dismal performances against Argentina.
Here, SunSport’s Anthony Chapman looks at how France could potentially line up at the 2026 World Cup…
GK – MIKE MAIGNAN (AC MILAN), 27
Unlucky to miss this World Cup after suffering an injury having become Serie A’s top stopper.
Has gone from strength to strength since winning the Ligue 1 title with Lille in 2020.
And he is the natural successor to outgoing captain Lloris.
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How France could look at the 2026 World Cup
RB – BENJAMIN PAVARD (BAYERN MUNICH), 26
A breakout star in France’s 2018 triumph, he found himself dropped for Kounde after the first group game.
But a centre-back can never do the job of a natural right-back properly, and Pavard may get the chance to reclaim his spot under Zidane.
CB – IBRAHIMA KONATE (LIVERPOOL), 23
Impressed in starts against Australia, Tunisia and Morocco but was axed for yesterday’s final.
Konate is already excelling as a modern-day defender and should ease into France’s XI as he also takes over Liverpool’s backline.
CB – WILLIAM SALIBA (ARSENAL), 21
Was hoping to see more action in Qatar as he spent most of time warming the bench.
But Saliba is already a Premier League star and his chance with France is sure to come soon.
LB – THEO HERNANDEZ (AC MILAN), 25
Had a stinker in the final but on his day is one of the best wing-backs around.
Provides a natural attacking threat which should give him the nod over brother Lucas of Bayern.
GettyAurelien Tchouameni won’t forget his penalty miss in a hurry[/caption]
CM – AURELIEN TCHOUAMENI (REAL MADRID), 22
Will be out for revenge after blasting spot-kick wide of Emi Martinez’s goal.
Already running the show at Real Madrid and will continue to grow into N’Golo Kante’s role for France.
CM – EDUARDO CAMAVINGA (REAL MADRID), 20
Is on the cusp of becoming Tchouameni’s Real midfield partner and will undoubtedly carry that link into the national team.
Has everything in his locker to become a complete midfielder and is certain to be one of Zidane’s favourites.
RW – RANDAL KOLO MUANI (EINTRACHT FRANKFURT), 24
Almost an unknown before bursting onto world’s biggest stage yesterday.
Will rue his wasted late chance in injury time but could be set to take advantage of Dembele’s awful performance.
AFPChristopher Nkunku is likely to be a Chelsea player by the time 2026 rolls around[/caption]
AM – CHRISTOPHER NKUNKU (RB LEIPZIG), 25
Injured in training on the eve of the tournament, he is now set to join Chelsea in a mega-money move.
Nkunku is a true goalscoring threat from deep and is ready to take charge of the No10 role.
LW – MARCUS THURAM (GLADBACH), 25
Almost became the first father-son duo to win a World Cup after dad Lilian.
Exciting blend of pace and power could help him nail down spot on left wing.
ST – KYLIAN MBAPPE (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN), 23
Probably the best player on the planet after making history with first World Cup final hat-trick since Geoff Hurst in 1966.
Moving from the wing to natural No9 position should result in even more goals by time Mbappe crosses the Atlantic.
And he’s definitely another who won’t forget the sting of losing the biggest game in football.