What I’d Do #8: FRANCE

I’m bored. FIFA Hybrids is dead. There’s not been much news in the sports world lately. What to do?

5 minutes later. . .

BAM!! Number eight is here. Not Star Wars #8, unfortunately. The What I’d Do series is back! Today, off the backs of a 3-2 win over England, France finds its way into After the Whistle. The team is actually one of the youngest in the world. Les Bleus, as their fans fondly nicknamed them, are simply overflowing with young talent. In fact, Koscielny and Lloris are the only players in the starting eleven above 25. 25!

 

In goal is the aforementioned Hugo Lloris. While I’m an Arsenal fan, I still have to e include him in the team despite how much I despise him. Reasons? The next best goalie is Stephane Ruffier, who refuses to play internationally. After that, France has Steve Mandanda. Not pleasant.

At left back, starting a trend of terrific young AS Monaco players is 22 year old Benjamin Mendy. Mendy has represented France at literally all levels. He played 32 times for the under-17s before being promoted to the U19s, winning 12 caps in two years. Due to turning 20, Mendy was forced to move to the U21s. He assisted five goals in nine games before Didier Deschamps called him up to the senior side.

In the center back positions, first is Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal’s first choice CB at club level, Koscielny has played for France 42 times since his international debut in 2011. He was a rock in defense in France’s run to the Euro 2016 final.

The other center back is Raphael Varane. The 24 year old starred at second tier French club RC Lens before getting a big money move to Real Madrid in 2011. Since then, Varane has won 42 caps for the international team.

At right back is Djibril (JIB-rill) Sidibe. Sidibe is another in a long list of players that had breakout seasons for AS Monaco this year. His critics point to his Sergi Roberto-esque forays forward as detrimental to the team. On November 22nd of 2016, Sidibe cemented his place in France anyways. Monaco was having trouble against Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League. In the 48th minute, Sidibe equalized; heading home Mendy’s cross. He then assisted Thomas Lemar (more on him later) five minutes later to give Monaco the win.

At left center midfielder, oh boy is this controversial. Instead of Blaise Matuidi, Hatim Ben Arfa, Corentin Tolisso, or Adrien Rabiot, I’ve included Paul Pogba. It’s an understatement to say Pogba was Juventus’ best player last year. Manchester United thought so, and broke the world transfer record, paying the Italians nearly £100 million to bring him to Old Trafford.

At right center midfielder, who else but N’Golo Kante? Leicester signed him from Caen in 2015, leading to a move to Chelsea. The rest is history.

At left midfielder, make a wild guess. It’s Thomas Lemar. The 21 year old had one of the best seasons in Monaco’s history, scoring 14 goals and assisting 14 more. Lemar even won UNFP Player of the Month in November 2016.

In he other side of midfield, welcome Ousmane Dembele to the international team. The 20 year old Borussia Dortmund phenom has been terrific this year, scoring 10 goals in 49 games for the German giants. He recently burst on to the international stage, scoring the winning goal for France against England. His spot is further cemented by the fact that the next best French RM is Moussa Sissoko. Hmm.

Right striker is Antoine Griezmann. If you haven’t heard of this guy, look him up. Since 2014, Griezmann has scored 60 goals in 111 games for Atlético Madrid. He also won La Liga Player of the Year in 2016, beating out Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Nice.

At left striker is the fan favorite, Kylian Mbappe-Lottin. The things this 18 year old has achieved are downright phenomenal! This year, he scored 26 goals in 44 games for Monaco. That’s a better goal ratio than Messi. Mbappe scored in every single Champions League knockout stage match Monaco played. He is the first player in history to do that. Let me remind you, he’s only 18! To round up his 2016-17 accolades, he was included in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season, the Ligue 1 TOTS, and won the UNFP Young Player of the Year.

And lastly, something that you all have wanted, I’ll show you the impact of the last season on FIFA Ultimate Team. The bottom of the top image shows the highest rated cards the French have, starting from the back. Hugo Lloris got a 94 rated(!) Premier League TOTS. Koscielny still has his basic 85. Varane was awarded with an 86 Team of the Group Stage (TOTGS) card. Sidibe had an 83 TOTGS card. Lemar grabbed a 91 Ligue 1 TOTS card. Pogba has a 92 inform. Kante has a 92 EPL TOTS. Dembele has a 91 Bundesliga TOTS. Griezmann has a 95 La Liga TOTS. Mbappe has an 89 Ligue 1 TOTS. (Stagger breathing, pants like a dog)

The quality of these French players is simply astounding. The squad is so good, they are a legitimate World Cup winning contender. I’m not kidding.

And finally, kudos to the people who read this whole thing! Please leave a like if you enjoyed, and goodbye!

What I Would Do #3: England

Welcome back to the What I’d Do series. Today it’s a team falling out of contention internationally. Is it due to a lack of talent? Far from it. Managerial turmoil has shaken up England’s squad more times than players should have to endure. Here is what I would do with the England national team.

At goalie is Joe Hart. Hart has been largely forgotten in the Premier League, but he has been a terrific goalkeeper on loan to Torino. So good, in fact, that he earns a starting spot here.

At left and right back, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are terrific for Tottenham. Walker gets the nod over Nathaniel Clyne due in part to his remarkable defending, but also because he is just so good at running down that right wing and causing problems for the opposing defense.

For the center backs, it’s Chris Smalling and John Stones. Stones played incredibly well for Everton, and was rewarded with a summer transfer to Manchester City. Smalling is the cog that makes the Manchester United defense tick. You couldn’t pick anyone better in these positions.

At the two center defensive midfielder (CDM) spots are two Liverpool men. Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson don’t always play for England, but when they do they are terrific. (Also considered: Eric Dier, Jack Wilshere)

In front of the CDMs is the CAM superstar Dele Alli. Alli has been one of the breakout stars of the 2016-17 Premier League, even earning Player of the Month honors once. He is the obvious choice here.

At left midfielder, who else? Raheem Sterling is always in the England squad, he always performs well internationally (edit: except against Iceland), and I have picked him here.

At right midfielder is Theo Walcott. Prior to this season, Arsenal fans were calling for Arsene Wenger to sell him. That didn’t happen, and Walcott has had the best season of his career. He’s playing.

At striker is another former Player of the Month winner. Harry Kane edged out Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck because of one reason: Goals. Kane scores loads and loads of goals. England needs that. They have such a creative midfield, and  they need someone to put those chances in the back of the net. Harry Kane is their man.

 

Be sure to put your suggestions down in the comments below!

 

Suggestions Thread

This is an ongoing discussion thread where you can put your suggestions in the comments for what I should type articles about. Odds are I will take your suggestions and write using those ideas, such as what I am doing with the What I’d Do series. Speaking of that series, here is the lineup for the coming weeks.

#8: France

#9: USA

#10: ???

Finally, be aware that liking each other’s comments sends them straight to my email, so a comment with at least one like has a 100% chance of being seen by me.

What I’d Do #2: Belgium

Today is the second installment of the What I Would Do series. Today we have a team that many overlook due to the fact that they haven’t ever made a World Cup semifinal. However, Belgium deserves your full attention on the international stage.

At goalie is Chelsea star Thibaut Courtois. His spot on the national team has never been in question after his stellar performances in the 2014 World Cup.

The back line is full-on Premier League. Tottenham has one of the EPL’s best center back tandems in Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Linking them together is Manchester City star Vincent Kompany.

At left midfielder is a terrific player with a mouthful of a name. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco is only 22, but has already cemented his position in the starting eleven for club and country.

At the center midfielder spots, Belgium has terrific creators and defenders in Kevin de Bruyne and Radja Nainggolan. Nainggolan had lost his spot to Axel Witsel before he went absolutely crazy at AS Roma, getting his Belgian spot back and locking it down for the foreseeable future. De Bruyne is one of the best players in the world and has arguably been Manchester City’s best player.

At right midfielder is a player you might not have heard of, but really should. Thomas Meunier has been playing so well for PSG that at times he was starting at right winger over Angel Di Maria.

At left winger, Eden Hazard needs absolutely no explanation. If you don’t know who he is, Google his name.

At striker, Everton star Romelu Lukaku was heavily linked with transfer rumors to all kinds of clubs in the summer, but he stayed at Everton. He edges out Christian Benteke for the start in the national team due to his prolific goal scoring ways.

Finally, at right winger is Napoli’s most consistent goalscorer in a long time, Dries Mertens.

 

Suggestions? Questions? Concerns? Leave your message down in the comments down below!

NEW SERIES!! What I’d Do: #1 Croatia

Welcome to a new series on my blog, called What I’d Do. Every Saturday, I will explain my choices for the Top international soccer XI of the country chosen. Today it’s a country who isn’t exactly world-renowned for their soccer team, but they have some great players. “They” are Croatia.

At goalie is Danijel Subasić. AS Monaco’s starting keeper, Subasić is second in the Ligue 1 with thirteen clean sheets and is invaluable to the French giants.

You might not have heard of left back Ivan Strinić, but since his first call-up in 2010, he has been Croatia’s first choice on the left side of the defense. He missed the 2014 World Cup due to a hamstring injury, but was rewarded for his strong performances at Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk with a transfer to Italian giants Napoli.

Almost everyone has heard of center-back Dejan Lovren from his stellar career at Liverpool, but not many know he is Croatian. He has 31 appearances for the national team, and gets the nod over Igor Bubnjić.

Vedran Corluka also gets the nod over Bubnjić. The Lokomotiv Moscow standout has been terrific in the Russian League this year, and helps make up for what is otherwise a defense lacking in strength.

Darijo Srna can play all along the right side of the team at Shakhtar Donetsk, and he has quickly become Croatia’s best right back.

Ivan Perisić is Inter Milan’s best player, and if I didn’t put him in at left midfielder, something would be dreadfully wrong.

Luka Modrić is so good for Real Madrid that he received a Team of the Season card in FIFA. He plays in the center of the midfield with Barcelona maestro Ivan Rakitić and Real Madrid teammate Mateo Kovačić.

At right midfielder, Marko Pjaca has burst onto the international stage, with more assists through ten apoearances for Croatia than anyone else in that many games.

And finally, at striker we have another Juventus player. Mario Mandžukić may have lost his starting spot at Juventus due to Paulo Dybala’s sensational performances, but Mandžukić is still a prolific goalscorer and the perfect player to get a header on crosses from Perisić and Pjaca.