Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele has been mesmerising and frustrating for Xavi’s side this season but does now have a huge opportunity to shine at the World Cup for France.
Didier Deschamps’s side are without some key players for the defense of their title, most notably Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema.
The Real Madrid star has been forced to pull out due to an injury suffered in training and joins Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Christopher Nkunku on the sidelines.
France’s injuries are bad news for Les Bleus but do present Dembele with the chance to play regularly in Qatar and show exactly what he can do, particularly as Didier Deschamps has confirmed he won’t call up a replacement for Benzema.
The Barcelona forward has managed to shrug off the injury problems that have plagued his time at the Camp Nou and could now play a key role for Deschamps’s side.
France have been trying a line-up featuring Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud in training, according to reports in France, which suggests the Barcelona star is in line for a start in their opener against Australia.
Dembele has been hot and cold this season but his five assists and four goals from 14 league matches is a decent return. There’s no doubt he probably should score more, but it’s worth noting he’s also created 26 chances in the Spanish top flight so far this season.
France will now be hoping he can replicate that kind of form at the World Cup. There’s no shortage of talent in Deschamps’s squad, despite all the injuries, but still doubts over how far the defending champions can go in Qatar.