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Austria national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 17, 2024 at 8pm UK
Merkur Spiel-Arena
France national football team

0 - 1

Wober (16'), Mwene (33'), Baumgartner (80'), Laimer (84'), Danso (90+3')
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Wober (38' og.)
Dembele (56'), Mbappe (90')

William Saliba 'discovers Euro 2024 fate' as Deschamps makes Konate selection call

Arsenal beat Liverpool again? Deschamps 'makes U-turn' on Saliba call
© Imago
France head coach Didier Deschamps is reportedly preparing to hand Arsenal defender William Saliba a start in Monday's opening Euro 2024 clash with Austria.

France manager Didier Deschamps is reportedly considering making a U-turn on a key Euro 2024 selection decision involving Arsenal centre-back William Saliba.

The former Saint-Etienne youngster has quickly established a reputation as one of the best players in his position in the Premier League since returning from three separate loan spells away from the Emirates.

Saliba's Arsenal future was plunged into uncertainty after his third temporary stint back in Ligue 1 with Marseille, but he announced his desire to prove his worth to Mikel Arteta and has certainly succeeded in that regard.

With the France international a mainstay in the backline alongside Gabriel Magalhaes, Arsenal have achieved back-to-back second-placed finishes in the Premier League, with Saliba amassing five goals and two assists from 83 games in all tournaments.

While the 23-year-old has 15 France caps under his belt, he has never been considered a favourite of Deschamps, who only gave him 27 minutes of action at the 2022 World Cup as a substitute.

France coach Didier Deschamps during a press conference on May 29, 2024© Reuters

Saliba 'set to start' for France in Austria clash

Saliba also lost out to Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano for a start in a recently 3-0 friendly win over Luxembourg, only coming on for the second half, although he did complete the full 90 in a goalless draw with Canada a few days later.

Despite Saliba's impressive performance in the latter contest, the expectation was that Deschamps would stick with the tried-and-tested Konate-Upamecano pairing for Monday's Group D opener against Austria in Dusseldorf.

However, according to L'Equipe, Deschamps has been rehearsing an XI in training with Saliba manning the defence instead of Konate, suggesting that the Arsenal man will get the nod over the Liverpool defender on Monday.

Konate has built up a strong level of trust with Deschamps down the years, but the former RB Leipzig man lost his place in the Liverpool lineup to Jarell Quansah during the final few games of Jurgen Klopp's tenure.

Konate has also been plagued by fitness problems since joining the Reds, but he was named in the first XI for three of France's 2022 World Cup matches, including their semi-final success over Morocco.

How could France line up for Euro 2024 opener?

France's Kylian Mbappe applauds fans after the match on June 9, 2024© Reuters

As Konate watches on from the sidelines, Saliba and Upamecano will no doubt be shielding number one Mike Maignan, with support from Jules Kounde and Theo Hernandez in the wide positions.

Due to Aurelien Tchouameni's foot injury, Juventus' Adrien Rabiot is expected to be the man to benefit in the middle, where he will link arms with N'Golo Kante upon his international comeback.

The Al-Ittihad man should be given the nod over Eduardo Camavinga and Youssouf Fofana, while Antoine Griezmann - whose record-breaking streak of 84 successive France games ended earlier this year due to injury - will act as Les Bleus' number 10.

Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe - fit again after a knee scare - are poised to start either side of Griezmann in support of Marcus Thuram, set to pip all-time top scorer Olivier Giroud to the striker's spot.

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France coach Didier Deschamps on November 18, 2023
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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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