Sunday, February 28, 2021

What if Parisian nation team in World Cup 2018

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

8 Parisians were on the France's 2018 WC Team

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Paris has been a major European hub of many things.  Since the turn of the millennium, the city(or Île-de-France) has became a major area where talented footballers were born.  It was estimated that 6% of all footballers playing in the Big Five European leagues were born over thereThe region provides more players in the 2018 World Cup Finals than any other city in the world.  A total of 16 players came from the area.  Seven of them were on France's World Cup winning team.  To put it into perspective, Catalonia also provided seven footballers for the World Cup winning team of Spain in 2010 and the Catalans of that World Cup Finals were well-documented and given plenty of recognition and credits.  Paris actually had more players on who went to the 2018 World Cup because eight other Paris-born players also went to the World Cup playing for Portugal, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia respectively.
Kylian Mbappé and Paul Pogba 
This blog team is my selection of an imaginary national team from Paris (or Île-de-France) for the World Cup 2018.  All players were born in Île-de-France. Alphonse Areola, Kylian Mbappe, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, N'Golo Kanté and Steven Nzonzi were on the actual French national team that won the World Cup.  I am including Paris-born players who were capped by non-French national team.  

GK: Alphonse Areola (PSG/France)
An academy graduate of PSG, he spent the early parts of his career on loan, enjoying spells with Lens, Bastia and La Liga side, Villarreal. During his stint with the latter, Areola broke the club record for the longest period of play without conceding a goal, remaining unbeaten for a period of 620. He also spent a season with Real Madrid. Since 2016, he has returned to PSG. He served as France's backup keeper at the 2018 World Cup Finals.
Alphonse Areola
GK: Benjamin Lecomte (Montpellier/France)
In 2010, Benjamin Lecomte made his professional debut with Lorient.  He moved to Montpellier in 2017.  Two seasons later, he joined AS Monaco.  In September, 2018, he received his first callup from the French national team.  He served as a backup against Germany.  At the time of writing, he has not played for France.

GK:Yohann Pelé (Marseille/France)
Yohann Pelé spent most of his career at Le Mans, making his debut in Ligue 2 in a 1–0 defeat at FC Istres in September 2002.  He later played for Toulouse between 2009 and 2012, and for Sochaux between 2014 and 2015.  In 2015, he joined Marseille.  He mainly was a backup to  Steve Mandanda, but he was a starter when Mandanda played for Crystal Palace. He played for the French Under-21 player in 2008.

RB: Kenny Lala (Strasbourg/France)
Kenny Lala started with Paris FC in 2010.  Later, he played for Valenciennes between 2011 and 2015 before joining Lens.  He joined Strasbourg in 2017. With Strasbourg, he was named on the 2018–19 Ligue 1 UNFP Team of the Year.  In January 2021, he moved to Olympiakos in Greece for 2.5 million euros.  

RB/LB: Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux /Senegal) 
Sabaly made his Ligue 1 debut with Evian in the 2013–14 season while on loan from Paris St-Germain.  He joined Bordeaux in 2017 without ever playing for PSG first team. He was a member of France victorious squad at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, but he chose to represent Senegal at the senior level.  He went to the 2018 World Cup Finals.

CB: Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace/France) 
In 2007, Mamadou Sakho made his debut with PSG, where he was named UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2010–11.  From 2013 to 2017, he played for Liverpool FC, where he earned a cult status with the fans.  After a loan spell, he joined Crystal Palace in 2017.  From 2010 onward, he played 29 times for France.  He went to the 2014 World Cup Finals, but was only on the preliminary list for 2018.
Mamadou Sakho
CB: Presnel Kimpembe (PSG/France) 
Presnel Kimpembe made his professional debut for Paris Saint-Germain on 17 October 2014.  He established himself at the club around 2017.  He has presented both DR Congo and France at the youth level.  In 2016, he was first called by France at the senior level, but he did not make his debut until 2018.  He was a member of France 2018 World Cup winning team.  In Russia, he played 90 minutes against Denmark.

CB: Kurt Zouma (Stoke City/France)
Zouma began his career at Saint-Étienne, making his debut aged 16. He joined Chelsea for £12 million in January 2014, but was loaned back to various clubs. Between 2014 and 2017, he played for Chelsea and then, two loan spells before retirning to Chelsea in 2020.  He earned his first two caps in 2015, but he did not earn his third until 2018.

CB: Medhi Benatia (Juventus/Morocco) 
Born in France of Moroccan and Algerian roots, Medhi Benatia chose to play for Morocco. He first made a name with Udinese and then, AS Roma, where he was considered a top defender in the Serie A.  In the summer of 2014, he joined Bayern Munich.  In 2016, he returned to Italy to play for Juventus.  Since 2008, he has been representing Morocco.  He was a part of the team that went to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia.

LB: Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City/France)
Benjamin Mendy started with Le Havre in 2011.  Then, in 2013, he joined Marseille. He spent a season with Monaco whom he won the national championship in 2016–17. In  2017, Mendy joined Manchester City on a then world-record transfer fee for a defender.  He earned his first cap in 2017.  He was a member of France's 2018 World Cup winning team.
Benjamin Mendy
LB: Ferland Mendy (Lyon/France)
Ferland Mendy started with for Le Havre in 2013.  In 2017, he joined Lyon, where he spent two seasons.  He was named on the UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year for both seasons.  In 2019, he joined Real Madrid.  In November, 2018, he earned his first cap for France after Benjamin Mendy withdrew because of an injury.  He never represented France at the youth level.

DM/CM: Blaise Matuidi (Juventus/France)
Blaise Matuidi began his career with Troyes before joining AS Saint-Étienne. From 2011 to 2017, he played for Paris St Germain. In 2017, he joined Juventus. In 2020, he joined Inter Miami.  At the time of writing, he has represented France at the European Championship of 2012 and 2016 as well as the World Cup Finals in 2014 and 2018.  He has 84 caps.

DM: N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea/France)
Kante made his senior debut at Boulogne and then spent two seasons at Caen. In 2015, he joined Leicester City winning the Premier League in his only season there. The following year, he joined Chelsea, winning the league again in his first season. He also won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year and became the first outfield player to win back-to-back English league titles with different clubs since Eric Cantona in 1992 and 1993.
N'Golo Kanté 
CM/DM: Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla/ France)
Nzonzi began his career with Ligue 2 side Amiens. Then, he played for Blackburn Rovers for three years.  From 2012 to 2015, he played for Stoke City.  He joined Spanish side Sevilla for a fee of £7 million in July 2015, and won the UEFA Europa League in his first season.
In November 2017, he made his debut for the senior France squad, and he was part of their team that won the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

LM/CM: Adrien Rabiot (PSG/France) 
Adrien Rabbit spent most of his career with Paris Saint-Germain, making his debut with the first team in 2012 and winning 15 major honours, including four consecutive Ligue 1 titles and a treble in 2015–16.  In 2019, he moved to Juventus in Italy. In 2016, he picked up his first senior cap after the European Championship of 2016.  At the time of writing, he earned 11 caps.

CM: Paul Pogba  (Manchester United/France)
Pogba began his senior career with Manchester United, but he moved to Juventus.  In Turin, he won the Golden Boy Award for the best player under-21 playing in Europe.  He also led Juventus to the Final of the 2015 Champions' League Final.  In 2016, Manchester United broke the all-time transfer fees to sign Pogba.  At the time of writing, he was capped 43 times.  He led France to reach the Final of Euro 2016 and to win the World Cup in 2018.
Paul Pogba
RW: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City/Algeria)
Born in France, Riyad Mahrez joined Leicester from La Harve in 2014.  He helped Leicester Town to win the Premiership in 2015-2016.  He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year, and was a member of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year as he helped Leicester City win the Premier League.  In 2018, he joined Manchester City. For the national team, he was eligible to play for France. He was selected to play for Algeria at Brazil 2014, but only played in one match. 

AM/LW: Yacine Brahimi (Porto/Algeria)
Brahimi began his career with Rennes. After spending the previous season on loan, he moved to the La Liga club Granada CF in 2013, and then to Porto for €6.5 million one year later. He represented France at all youth levels. In 2013, Brahimi switched his international allegiance to Algeria and made his debut for them a month later, also playing at the 2014 World Cup and the 2015, 2017 and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, winning the latter tournament.
LW/FW: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich/France)
Coman was a youth product with Paris St Germain.  He made his senior debut there before moving to Juventus in 2014.  In 2017, he joined Bayern Munich.  In 2015, he earned his first senior cap and was a part of Didier Deschamps' team at the European Championship in 2016.  He was considered one of the top young players there.

FW: Kylian Mbappé (PSG/France) 
Mbappe was a well-known youth player in France before making his senior debut with AS Monaco in 2015.  He quickly established himself as one of the best young players in the world.  In the summer of 2017, Monaco sent him to Paris St Germain on loan for a buyout option of around €180 million at the end of the loan. In 2017, he made his national team debut, becoming the second youngest ever French international.
 Kylian Mbappé 
RW/FW: Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast/Lille)
Pépé began his club career with Poitiers in the Championnat de France Amateur 2. He played for Angers and Orléans in 2015 before he signed for Lille in 2017, and was named to the UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year in the 2018–19 season. That summer, Pépé joined Arsenal for a club-record fee of £72 million, and won the FA Cup in his debut season.  Born in France to parents of Ivorian descent, Pepe chose to play for Ivory Coast. 

FW: Anthony Martial (Manchester United/France)
Anthony Martial came from the youth academy at Lyon. He played for both Lyon and Monaco before joining Manchester United in 2015. His performance with the Red Devils earned great review.  He won the Golden Bay award in 2015. He earned his foirst senior cap the same year.  He was a member of Didier Deschamps' team at the 2016 European Championship in France.

ST: Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla/France)
Having begun his career at amateurs UJA Alfortville, he joined Toulouse in 2010. He totalled 71 goals in 174 games for them, surpassing André-Pierre Gignac as their greatest league scorer of the 21st century. He moved to Sevilla in 2016, and scored 70 goals in 138 games in 3 seasons. A €40 million transfer to Monaco followed in 2019, and he was Ligue 1 top scorer in his first season back. At international level, Ben Yedder made his full international debut for France in March 2018.
Wissam Ben Yedder 
Players Pool
Jules Koundé (Bordeaux/France), Raphaël Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund/Portugal), Alexandre Letellier (Young Boys/France), Mamadou Samassa (Troyes/Mali), Bingourou Kamara (Strasbourg/Senegal), Saîf-Eddine Khaoui (Troyes/Tunisia), M'Baye Niang (Torino/Senegal), Moussa Sow (Shabab Al-Ahli/Senegal), Alfred N'Diaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers/Senegal), Amine Harit (Schalke 04/Morocco), Raïs M'Bolhi (Ettifaq FC/Algeria), Sébastien Corchia (Sevilla/France), Kévin Malcuit (Lille/France), Nordi Mukiele (Montpellier/France), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City/Everton/France), Ibrahima Konaté (RB Leipzig/France), Dan-Axel Zagadou (Borussia Dortmund/France/Ivory Coast), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspurs/France), Amine Harit (Schalke 04/Morocco), Tiémoué Bakayoko (Chelsea/France), Mehdi Lacen (Getafe/Algeria), Jonathan Bamba (St.Etienne/France), Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon/France), Jules Koundé (Bordeaux/France), Jérémy Ménez (Antalyaspor/France), Lucas Digne (Barcelona/France).

Squad Explanation
-- When I first started this team, I envisioned it to be an "All-French" team.  However, there were some key injuries.  Some of the "non-French" players can fill holes that the team needed badly (see below). After a quick research, I decided to select Parisian-born footballers who played for other national teams. The criteria is now about the birthplace. 
-- I took five non-French players.  They were Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal), Medhi Benatia (Morocco), Nicolas Pépé (Ivory Coast), Yacine Brahimi (Algeria) and Riyad Mahrez (Algeria).  If I only took French players only, their replacements would be Nordi Mukiele (Montpellier), Jules Koundé (Bordeaux), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Jean-Kévin Augustin (RB Leipzig) and Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspurs). 
-- Paris sent 16 players to the World Cup Finals. The cities of Montevideo and Sydney had 10 footballers each while Buenos Aires sent 7. 
-- Paris is considered a melting pot.  Only four players selected were white players (I do not know their ethnicity).
-- Alphonse Areola, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, N'Golo Kanté and Steven Nzonzi were on France's World Cup winning team.  
-- Wissam Ben Yedder, Kingsley Coman, Lucas Digne, Anthony Martial Adrien Rabiot,  Mamadou Sakho, Moussa Sissoko and Kurt Zouma were standby players for the French World Cup team.
-- Eight other Paris-born players went to the World Cup Finals, playing for other national teams.  They were Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal), Medhi Benatia (Morocco), Amine Harit (Morocco), Youssouf Sabaly (Tunisia), Saîf-Eddine Khaoui (Tunisia), M'Baye Niang (Senegal), Moussa Sow (Senegal) and Alfred N'Diaye (Senegal).
-- The selections of Kylian Mbappé, N'Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Paul Pogba were self explanatory.
-- Paris St Germain featured 8 players who at one point of his career joined them: Kylian Mbappé, Adrien Rabiot, Presnel Kimpembe, Mamadou Sakho, Youssouf Sabaly,  Alphonse Areola, Blaise Matuidi and Steven Nzonzi (youth career only).
-- Alphonse Areola was the obvious choice for the first goalkeeper.  Then, I took a pair of Ligue 1 regular goalkeepers Benjamin Lecomte and Yohann Pele.  Lecomte played over 40 games for Montpellier HSC that season.  He received his French call-up in September, 2018. In 2017-2018 season, Yohann Pelé was Marseille's backup goalkeeper, but he played many matches because of injuries to Steve Mandanda.  He played in the semifinal of the Europa League.  At 36, he was also more experienced than Bingourou Kamara (Senegal) and Mamadou Samassa (Mali).  He was Marseilles' starter the season before. Meanwhile, Kamara played regularly for his club RC Strasbourg
Benjamin Lecomte
-- Raïs M'Bolhi (Algeria) was probably more famous than the others because he played in the 2014 World Cup Finals for Algeria, but he only played one league game between 2015 to 2018.  
-- Rightback Sébastien Corchia was capped once by France before the World Cup Finals.  However, he was injured from January 2018 to May, 2018.  So I took him out of consideration. Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal) was probably the best option available. Kenny Lala was the rightback of the Year in the Ligue 1 in the 2918-2019 season, but I don't know much about him the season before.  I still selected him based upon that. It is something that I usually do not do.  I was looking at two other Ligue 1 fullbacks Kévin Malcuit and Nordi Mukiele.  I did not know them.  Both players transferred to a new club in the summer of 2018.  Nordi Mukiele's fees was 16 million while Malcuit 11 million. Malcuit was injured during the season.
-- Centerback Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City/Everton) would have made the team, but he was injured.  So I took Presnel Kimpembe, Mamadou Sakho and Medhi Benatia. 
-- I gave the last centerback spot to Kurt Zouma (Stoke/France). At the time of writing, he has settled down with Chelsea.  In the 2017-2018 season, he was on loan with Stoke City.  His club finished second from the bottom with one of the worst defense in the league.  As of 2018, he only earned 2 caps in 2015.  However, he was a standby player for France. Didier Deschamps must have rated him ahead Jules Koundé and Ibrahima Konaté, and I trusted Didier Deschamps' decision. 
-- I seriously considered both Jules Koundé and Ibrahima Konaté.  As of 2021, the two defenders were well-known.  However, in 2018, both were young players.  Jules Koundé established himself as the starter of Bordeaux shortly after making his professional debut around January 2018.  Ibrahima Konaté (RB Leipzig) just turned 19 on May, 2018.  Both might be too young to be included for this World Cup Finals.  Benatia was famous because he played for Bayern Munich and Juventus. He would still get ahead of the two youngsters.
-- Centerback Dan-Axel Zagadou had a broke out season with Borussia Dortmund, but he injured from March to May 2018.  Anyway, he was only 19 years old in 2018.  So I was not seriously looking into him.
-- Raphaël Guerreiro had an injury-filled seasons.  In real life, he returned to action on May, 2018.  Portugal selected him to the World Cup Finals.   However, for the "Parisian national team", I selected Benjamin Mendy and Ferland Mendy.  I do not need to explain Benjamin Mendy's selection. He was the second most expensive defender in the world at the time of the World Cup Finals.
-- Lucas Digne should be ahead of Ferland Mendy in terms of experiences, but he seldom played for Barcelona in the 2017-2018 season.  He made only 11 league appearance.  Ferland Mendy did not earn his first cap until after the WC Finals, but he was a star in Ligue 1.  He was named on the UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2017–18.  He probably had better form in 2018 than Digne.
Ferland Mendy
-- Both Benjamin and Ferland Mendy started with second division Le Havre.  And both were Senegalese.   They were one year apart in age.
--Only one of Didier Deschamps' midfielders were not from the area. So I decided to add a single midfielder to replace him.  I was deciding between Moussa Sissoko and Adrien Rabiot for the last spot.  Moussa Sissoko had a poor club form in the 2017-2018 season.  So I took Rabiot.  In real life, Rabiot refused to be a standby player after he failed to make the World Cup team.  He always had some disciplinary problems prior to that, but I overlooked that.  Meanwhile, in the summer of 2017, PSG actually sold Blaise Matuidi to make way for Rabiot. He relatively lived up expectation.  Many pundits believed that he should have gone to Russia with France. His relationship with PSG did not deteriorate to a point where he was in the doghouse until after the summer of 2018. 
-- I also seriously considered Tanguy Ndombele.  With Tottenham Hotspurs after the World Cup Finals, he actually struggled, but at the time of the WC Finals, he was an upcoming player for Lyon that season. But I preferred Rabiot who was more well-established with PSG.
-- Attack midfielder Amine Harit (Morocco) was Bundesliga Rookie of the Year for the 2017-2018 season, but I did not have space for him.  
-- I selected Yacine Brahimi (Porto/Algeria) who could play wide on the left.  I also looked into another left side wide player Jonathan Bamba (St.Etienne/France). He was doing well in Ligue One, but he remained uncapped at the time of writing.
-- Hatem Ben Arfa did not play a single game in the 2017-2018 season. Moussa Diaby only made his professional debut in 2018.
-- Anthony Martial scored 12 goals that season.  However, after Manchester United signed Alexi Sanchez in January 2018, Anthony Martial's playing time was reduced.  His last goal that season was scored on January 22nd, 2018.  At the time of the World Cup Finals, he only scored a single goal in 15 international matches.  France overlooked him for the real World Cup Finals. Nicolas Pepe scored 8 of his 13 goals that season from January 2018 onward. I took both since I needed more forwards.
-- Kingsley Coman was injured from February to May, 2018.  His fitness was a concern. He made a brief appearance in the DFB-Pokal Final on May 19, 2018.  I have dropped players who came back injuries about the same time he recovered, but I decided to gamble with him.  The other position had many alternatives.  For attackers, the alternative would be Jean-Kévin Augustin and Coman could potentially be the star of the team.
-- At the time of writing, striker Jean-Kévin Augustin is still uncapped.  He was RB Leipzig's second top scorer that season. I seriously considered him, but I opted for Coman and Martial who were more famous.
-- Wissam Ben Yedder was Sevilla's top scorer that season with 22 goals.  He was also one of France's standby players.
Kingsley Coman
I started four players who started for France against Croatia at the 2018 World Cup Final.  Blaise Matuidi was playing as a left wing in the actual game. 

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