Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda says EURO 2016 finalists France can improve ahead of next year’s World Cup and do really well in Russia next summer.

Promoted to number one goalkeeper in the absence of the injured Hugo Lloris, Mandanda is set to start in Cologne against Germany on Tuesday in a repeat of last year’s EURO semi-final won 2-0 by France in Marseille, where Mandanda once again plays his club football.

Reflecting on that fine last-four success which he watched from the VĂ©lodrome bench, Mandanda said: “It was a great evening. We were solid and compact and defended well. If we play the same way and we get the same result in the friendly then I’ll be happy.”

“Some good things and some less good”

Assessing France’s progress since the EURO Mandanda commented: “There have been a lot of changes and a lot of young talents have come into the squad. We’ve done some good things and some less good. It’s hard to compare. We have a shared will to progress and we have room to get better. Each individual needs to bring more to the squad. I think we’re going to have a beautiful World Cup.”

After a troubled, injury-plagued campaign at Crystal Palace last season Mandanda is enjoying a renaissance at club and international level. Revelling in the moment the holder of 25 international caps said: “What’s good is that I’m playing after a delicate year last year. Things are going well for me. I’m happy to be playing for my country even if it’s because Hugo is injured. I’m making the most of it and enjoying it.”

As Olivier Giroud is injured Didier Deschamps might change tactics to 4-3-3 from 4-2-3-1. Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal and Anthony Martial of Manchester United are competing for the centre-forward role.


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