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Could an XI of French-born internationals playing for other countries beat France?

Could Gonzalo Higuain and co beat France? They'd certainly give it a good go

France’s squad depth is so good at the moment that Didier Deschamps can afford to leave Anthony Martial, Kingsley Coman and Tiemoue Bakayoko watching on from home.

But had life worked out slightly differently Kylian Mbappe could have been forming an attacking trio with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gonzalo Higuain.

They really do start them young in France

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They really do start them young in France

There’s an entire squad of French-born footballers currently playing for a different nation.

Whittling them down to an XI is a hard enough job in itself so it’s probably for the best that they aren’t eligible for Deschamps’ already stacked squad.

Sickeningly good strength in depth

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Sickeningly good strength in depth

Goalkeeper

Anthony Lopes was born in Givors, eastern France, and joined Lyon’s prodigious academy at the age of nine.

But, due to a Portuguese father, he’s only ever turned out for the Seleccao, winning four senior caps and picking up the European Championships last summer.

Mali’s Mamadou Samassa is the only rival for Lopes’ spot in the Francophone XI. Both probably made the right choice, given Hugo Lloris’ nine-year domination of the French keeper jersey.

Hands up if you’re eligible for France

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Hands up if you’re eligible for France

Defenders

Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam was born in France to Algerian parents, deciding to play for his motherland despite playing twice for France’s Under-21s.

Parisian Mehdi Benatia made a similar decision, turning out for Morocco after playing for France’s Under-18s.

Kalidou Koulibaly’s Napoli form was so strong that Deschamps considered calling him up to the France squad, only to find out he was a seasoned Senegal international.

Finishing the diaspora defence is West Brom’s Allan Nyom, who was born in Paris but went on to play for Cameroon.

Koulibaly turned out for France in the nicest kit they’ve ever had

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Koulibaly turned out for France in the nicest kit they’ve ever had

Midfielders

Boxs-of-tricks Riyad Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi were both born in Paris but took different routes to playing for Algeria.

While Brahimi shone for France at youth levels, playing for the Under-16s through to the Under-21s, Mahrez didn’t play any international youth football before debuting for Algeria.

Raphael Guerreiro and Adrien Silva were part of Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph but could have been playing on the opposite side in the final, having been born in Paris and Angouleme respectively.

France turned Algeria’s no.10 isn’t that snappy a chant, really

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France turned Algeria’s no.10 isn’t that snappy a chant, really

Strikers

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned down Italy to play for France before turning down France to play for Gabon. Go figure.

Aubameyang could have been forming a devastating partnership with Gonzalo Higuain, who was born in Brest, where his father Jorge was playing.

As it is Higuain’s the scapegoat for Argentina every time Lionel Messi drags them to an international final only for Gonzalo to forget how to finish like the world-class striker he is.

With hair like that he must be French

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With hair like that he must be French

While we’re on the subject of French strikers…

KARIM BENZEMA REAL MADRID: The most criminally underrated striker of all time