Group C features 1998 Champions, France, Denmark, Australia, and Peru. The French are the group’s clear heavyweights. Do any of the other nations possess someone with the quality to prevent a clean sweep of the top 5?
5. N’golo Kante
The evolution of N’golo Kante is not praised enough. Since his starring role in Leicester City’s Cinderella story Kante has added facets to his game that have seem him evolve from a ball winning box to box midfielder to a more complete deep lying player capable of contributing to the offensive thrust of his team. The Euro’s was the first glimpse we got of Kante in a more complete role and he left with his held high. He is even better now and we can expect him to make him presence felt in Russia.
4. Paul Pogba
Admittedly he’s not had the most consistent two years at Manchester United. Admittedly he hasn’t been the most consistent performer in a France jersey. BUT, Paul Pogba on his best day is right up there in the discussion for best midfielders in the game. While we all would like more from him, the truth is that an argument can be made that only Juventus have managed to crack the code of how best to situate him on a football field to allow him to perform at his best. If Didier Deschamps can borrow a cheat sheet from his former team, Pogba will make waves.
3. Christian Eriksen
The only player stopping this from being a Golden State-over-Cavs-like clean sweep is the Danish maestro. His hat trick in the play-off game against Ireland ensured the Danes would be at the showpiece event and it is expected that he delivers for his country this summer. Former Denmark boss Morten Olsen demanded Eriksen stand up and make himself counted in 2014 and since then Eriksen has not let him or Denmark down. We don’t expect that to change this summer.
2. Antoine Griezmann
His future post World Cup is unclear, but the Atletico man enters the tournament as one of the deadliest attacking players in the game. Accused of shrinking at the big moments, Griezmann finally managed to be on the victorious side of a final when he guided Atletico to Europa League success and France will be hoping he repeats the trick this summer.
1. Kylian Mbappe
Elevated to the best player in Group C due to the unfortunate news that Lord Nicklas Bendtner will not be able to participate, the golden boy of French football recently stated his belief that his compatriot Ousmane Dembele is the best youngster in the game, but he is sadly mistaken. Mbappe is not only the best youngster in the world, but he is one of the best in the world, period. Equally comfortable out wide or through the middle, the fleet footed attacker adds an extra dimension to the attacking system of France they didn’t have at the Euros two years ago.