During Laurent Blanc’s tenure as national team boss, a great furor arose concerning the number of players with foreign origins who were benefiting from France’s youth facilities, featuring for her national sides before taking their talents back to their nations of origin when the international scene came calling.
While France has profited greatly from players born in overseas departments or in former colonies, the suggestion was that national sides such as Algeria, Mali and Senegal were the genuine benefactors from France’s diverse youth team personnel.
If this is the case, things show little sign of changing.
The France squad that has been assembled this summer possesses players with origins right across the world, all of whom could one day use their talents to the advantage of another football federation.
Goalkeeper Alphonse Aréola has expressed interest in joining the Philippines national side one day, while right back Dimitri Foulquier is eligible for Guadeloupe.
There is also a strong African feel to the side; the aforementioned Zouma, as well as Geoffrey Kondogbia, could one day turn out for the Central African Republic; Samuel Umtiti, Jean-Christophe Bahebeck and Axel Ngando are of Cameroonian origin, while Yaya Sanogo could go on to represent either Mali or the Cote d’Ivoire.
It remains to be seen how many of these youngsters will benefit France in the long run.