An XI of amazing players left out of France’s 2022 World Cup squad

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Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante of France celebrate with the World Cup Trophy

The wealth of talent that France have at their disposal is truly mindblowing and we’ve gathered their snubbed stars and compiled them into a scarily good XI.

They were crowned champions at the 2018 World Cup and we don’t think they will be far away this year either.

France have one of the best squads in this year’s tournament and that’s without these stars that have been left behind.

GK: Mike Maignan

Other than Manchester United’s David de Gea, Mike Maignan is perhaps the highest-profile goalkeeper to miss out on his country’s 26-man squad.

Injuries will be a common theme throughout this list and the AC Milan goalkeeper picked one up at the wrong time.

Still, France do have the luxury of choosing between Hugo Lloris, Alphonse Areola and Steve Mandanda in his absence.

RB: Nordi Mukiele

You would have thought that Nordi Mukiele’s versatility would have been enough to gain him a place in the squad.

The 25-year-old moved over to PSG this summer following a successful four-year stint with RB Leipzig.

CB: Presnel Kimpembe

His fellow PSG teammate Presnel Kimpembe will also miss the action in Qatar.

Despite originally being picked in Didier Deschamps’ side, the 27-year-old had to withdraw due to injury.

It’s not as if France are struggling for centre-backs, but Kimpembe’s experience and know-how would have been useful.

CB: Wesley Fofana

It’s easy to forget that Chelsea splashed out over £70million on Wesley Fofana in the summer. A knee injury has kept him out of action recently and he is yet to make his senior debut for France.

Still, we’re sure that the 21-year-old’s time will come eventually, but not this year in Qatar.

LB: Ferland Mendy

It speaks to the ridiculous levels of depth within their squad when they aren’t taking Champions League-winning defender Ferland Mendy.

Mendy has been a regular under Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid but was snubbed from Deschamps’ side.

CM: N’Golo Kante

The World Cup won’t be the same without you, N’Golo.

READ: 12 reasons why it’s impossible not to love Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante

CM: Nabil Fekir

Nabil Fekir was the creative spark behind Real Betis’ impressive 2021-22 campaign. The Spanish side finished fifth in La Liga, which was their highest league finish since 2004–05.

His impressive output wasn’t enough to get him a call-up though and so he’ll be watching from home.

CM: Paul Pogba

Graeme Souness will probably have a smirk on his face about this one.

In all seriousness though, it’s a real shame that Paul Pogba won’t be at the World Cup this year. He played a starring role in France’s 2018 triumph and always seems to turn it on for his country.

LW: Dimitri Payet

Since leaving the limelight of the Premier League in 2017, Dimitri Payet has been balling out in Ligue 1 for Marseille.

The 35-year-old holds the record for the most assists in Ligue 1 history with 115 to his name. He may no longer be in his prime, but a seasoned pro like Payet definitely would have added something to Deschamps’ side.

RW: Allan Saint-Maximin

“Of course, I am very far from the Ballon d’Or at the moment, but in terms of quality, I think I’m able to do it,” is what Allan Saint-Maximin told Goal earlier this year.

The Newcastle winger would have brought a sense of flair and showmanship to the national side, but it just wasn’t to be for him this time.

ST: Wissam Ben Yedder

Since signing for AS Monaco in 2019, only Kylian Mbappe has scored more goals in Ligue 1.

His consistency wasn’t enough to earn him a spot over the likes of Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann though.


READ MORE: 9 players in the Panini sticker album that won’t be at the World Cup