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Inside France's World Cup ceremony

France
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Euro 2016 team preview: Hosts France seek success on home soil

Group A: France | Romania | Albania | Switzerland

The wait is over, and France, who have had two years to fine-tune a formula for their home tournament, will be expected to make a concerted assault on the trophy. On paper, the path to the semifinals does not look too trying, so falling short of that round would be a major disappointment.

How they qualified: Host nation

France qualified automatically but, for the first time, were placed as a "ghost" team in one of the groups. This meant they played home and away friendlies against all the sides in Group I. Two wins against Portugal were notable, but a draw and defeat versus Albania blotted the copybook.

How they'll proceed:

Getting to the last four should be a given, even considering that star striker Karim Benzema may not be available. France will come close to emulating their titles of 1984 and 2000 but will fall just short.

TBD by Editor
France have won the European Championship as host country once before, back in 1984.

Predicted lineup:

(4-3-3); GK: Hugo Lloris; DF: Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala, Laurent Koscielny, Patrice Evra; MF: Moussa Sissoko, Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi; FW: Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Anthony Martial.

Key player: Anthony Martial

There are echoes of 1998, when 20-year-old Thierry Henry impressed as France clinched a stunning home triumph. Martial, who featured prominently in recent friendlies, has the element of surprise that could decide big games.

Manager: Didier Deschamps

The 47-year-old replaced Laurent Blanc after Euro 2012. Chances of success look good after a respectable World Cup showing that ended in the last eight, and France look comfortable playing in the 4-3-3 system he favours.

Schedule:

June 10 vs. Romania (3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT; Stade de France, Paris)
-- LIVE on ESPN2

June 15 vs. Albania (3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT; Stade Velodrome, Marseille) 
-- LIVE on ESPN

June 19 vs. Switzerland (3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT; Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille) 
-- LIVE on ESPN

Games are also LIVE on ESPN Deportes, ESPN FC, WatchESPN and the ESPN app.

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