As the host nation, France qualified automatically for Euro 2016. France have the issue that all host nations have in that the lack of competitive matches does not prepare them for the rigours of a major tournament.

While they clearly have a great squad, will a handful of friendlies prepare them for a major tournament?

Ladbrokes odds

To win the tournament: 3/1 (favourites)

To win Group A: 1/3 (favourites)

To qualify for Round of 16: 1/50

Top goal-scorer: Antoine Griezmann: 10/1 | Karim Benzema: 10/1 | Olivier Giroud: 14/1 | Anthony Martial: 40/1

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Route to Euro 2016

By pairing France with teams from Group I, in which there were only five teams, UEFA allowed the hosts to get some match practice against Group I during fixture gaps.

France won eight and drew two of these 10 friendly games, scoring 20 goals in the process. As the games were friendlies, it’s hard to gauge the weight of the results.

As expected, stars Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi and Karim Benzema all performed well.

Tournament history

As hosts in the very first Euros in 1960, France came fourth (last). However, they won the tournament as hosts 24 years later in a stunning display by captain Michel Platini, who scored nine goals in just five games.

Platini received support from a great squad including Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Luis Fernández.

The then-world champions won the Euros for a second time in 2000, completing the coveted double of two major tournaments in a row.

Despite not being at their best in the years since, France made the quarter-finals in Euro 2004 and Euro 2012.

Manager

Didier Deschamps

Didier Deschamps was appointed head coach in the summer of 2012, when Laurent Blanc resigned after just two years in charge.

After a couple of spells at the helm of Monaco and Marseille, Deschamps led Les Bleus to the 2014 World Cup as runners-up to holders Spain in the qualifying group.

Deschamps took his team to the quarter-finals in Brazil, but they were outplayed in a 1-0 defeat to eventual winners, Germany.

Despite facing criticism for excluding the likes of Samir Nasri from his squad, Deschamps also receives praise for his focus on team spirit and unity over individual flair.

He has also earned respect from grateful Parisians for his calmness and sense of duty in the wake of the Paris Terror Attacks in November 2015.

Most important player

Paul Pogba

France has many great players, including Benzema, Giroud and Griezmann, as well as the up-and-coming Anthony Martial.

Yet Europe’s most coveted midfielder is Juventus’ Paul Pogba. The young Frenchman is still just 22, but many say he is among the best in the world.

Pogba plays at his best as a left midfielder in 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-3 formations. While he began the season in the Number 10 role for Juventus, he is now back in his old role and is doing a great job.

Pogba plays in the classic box-to-box midfielder’s role for his country and often draws comparisons to Patrick Viera, despite his smaller frame.

Rising star

Kingsley Coman

19-year-old Kingsley Coman is a highly versatile attacking midfielder who plays at his best on the right-hand side. Despite showing much promise in a handful of appearances from Juventus in 2014/15, he is currently on loan at Bayern Munich.

Bayern’s style of play suits Coman perfectly, and he is used to great effect as a means to open up the attacking third, which allows star strikers Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski to move into space.

Some suspect that Coman might not get in the team due to the presence of Griezmann. However, the teenager’s emergence will allow the gifted Atletico forward to move into the Number 10 role. This in turn will allow Pogba to revert to his best position on the left of midfield.

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Despite some criticism, Deschamps has assembled a fantastic squad in time for Euro 2016. After all, the likes of Pogba, Benzema and Giroud would surely get into any team on the planet.

It remains to be seen whether a lack of competitive matches will mean they go into the tournament a little rusty, or as the well-oiled machine you might expect.

The quality in the squad and their home advantage is what make them favourites to go all the way at 3/1, while their first test will come against Romania in the opening match of the tournament.

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