Blaise Matuidi

Coauthored by Jeremy Roth and David Talpalar


(Courtesy of ESPN)

Blaise Matuidi is another player of African descent (his father is Angolan) who figures to be pivotal to France’s success this summer. Matuidi, 29, plays from a slightly deeper role in the midfield, to fantastic effect.  He has been capped by France 42 times thus far and has scored 7 goals from his deep-lying position.

Matuidi has been a French footballer through and through, playing the first half of his career at Troyes and Saint-Etienne before making a high profile switch to Ligue 1 giants PSG in 2011 (ESPN). Since his move to PSG, he has put in numerous pivotal, match-winning performances for the undisputed best team in France. Particularly, since 2013, Matuidi has burst onto the scene, and he is now indispensable for both club and country.

In terms of playing style, Matuidi is a high energy athlete with great technical ability and a much revered left foot. In 2013, rated the “warrior” as the most underrated midfielder in Europe, while others have compared him to former French superstar Claude Makelele.  As is shown in his impressive 7 goals from 42 games from a deeper midfield position (none more impressive than the one below), Matuidi is more than just a defensive presence. Although he “has the discipline, the positional nous, and the anticipation” to fulfill defensive midfield duties, after understanding the talent that he is, his coaches at all levels have granted him the “license to move from a defensive role to a more dynamic, energetic, box-to-box” role (Dove). His complete, polished skill set could prove the difference in Euro 2016 this summer. Very few teams, if any, have a midfield as dynamic as Matuidi and Pogba.


Matuidi is more than just the defensive midfielder that many thought he was (YouTube)

How to cite this article: “Projected France Starting XI at Euro 2016” Written by Jeremy Roth and David Talpalar (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).