Arsene Wenger explains why France are his ‘super favourite’ to win this summer’s European Championships

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger speaks at The Best FIFA Football Awards
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has backed France to win the Euros (Picture: Getty)

Arsene Wenger has branded France as the ‘super favourite’ to win this summer’s European Championships and believes the return Karim Benzema makes Didier Deschamps’ already world-class attack an ‘even stronger’ force.

The reigning world champions take on Wales and Bulgaria over the next few days in preparation for their opening clash of the tournament which kicks off in just under a fortnight’s time.

Les Bleus have been placed in what is widely being dubbed as the ‘group of death’ along with holders Portugal, Germany and Hungary but Wenger is confident his fellow countrymen can progress into the knockout phase and go all the way.

The iconic ex-Arsenal manager is confident Deschamps’ decision to end Benzema’s five-year exile from the national team will only boost the side’s chances of success, three years on from their World Cup triumph without the Real Madrid forward.

Karim Benzema speaks with Didier Deschamps in France training
Benzema has been recalled after five years in exile (Picture: Getty)

‘France will be the super favourite of this tournament for many, many reasons,’ Wenger told beIN SPORTS.

‘The main one of course is they just won the World Cup in a convincing way in Russia. But as well, it doesn’t look most of the time teams win with an average age of 28 average but France is a young team. They have not peaked yet. That’s why I believe that we’d be the absolute favourite as well.

‘Crucially for the world champions, they do not have any major injury doubts heading into the tournament and the inclusion of Karim Benzema for the first time in five years makes France even stronger in attack. 

‘They have no major injury as that is important, and they’ve appeased France by calling Benzema back. If you imagine that you can have Mbappe, Benzema, Griezmann and all the others, Coman and so you would say, that not only the offensive potential is exceptional, but even the offensive potential on the bench is absolutely unbelievable.’

Wenger added: ‘You have players on the bench who would play anywhere else.

‘That’s why, for me, in that group of central European teams who look to be the favourites – it is France, Belgium, England and Netherlands maybe with a chance.

‘That’s the core of Europe that are amongst the favourite and in this group I would put France above the others.’

Didier Deschamps speaks at France press conference
Deschamps welcomes France’s status as favourites (Picture: Getty)

France head coach Deschamps said the nation’s interests had to come before his own when pressed on his decision to recall Benzema, widely regarded as one of the finest strikers of his generation.

‘I’ve already faced difficult situations with other players,’ he told French outlet Telefoot.

‘But the French team doesn’t belong to me. France is above everything else.

‘I cannot say what we spoke about, but the most important thing is that he’s back and we’ve reached this decision by speaking.

‘There will always be competition [with Benzema and Olivier Giroud], but France are better now with Benzema.’

On France’s status as favourites, Deschamps replied: ‘We hope to be!

‘But we have a tough group. You have to be ambitious, competitive, and to give your all.

‘We want to go far and to win.’

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