Les Bleus' preparations on the field have been distracted by claims from Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema that his exclusion from the squad was racially motivated.
     
Benzema hasn't played for Les Bleus since October last year after becoming embroiled in a sex-tape blackmail scandal that targeted then international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
     
France's highest active goalscorer, Benzema, who is of Algerian descent, claimed coach Didier Deschamps had 'bowed to pressure from a racist part of France'. In addition, Benzema's Madrid team-mate Raphael Varane will miss the tournament due to a hamstring injury.

Coach Didier Deschamps' defensive options are severely depleted as Barcelona's Jeremy Mathieu also had to withdraw from the squad, while Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho wasn't included as he was serving a provisional ban from UEFA for doping.
     
Lassana Diarra, Kurt Zouma and Mathieu Debuchy are also sidelined, and Deschamps has acknowledged he never imagined being hit with such headaches even just a few weeks ago.
     
"Everything that has happened to us since the squad was announced on May 12, honestly, even in my worst nightmares I don't think I could have imagined it," Deschamps told sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday.
     
Yet, expectations are still high that a team boasting the precocious young talents of the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Antoine Griezmann can repeat the feats of the French sides of 1998 and 1984 in winning the World Cup and Euros respectively on home soil.
     
"We have the chance to play at home, there will be pressure, but it will be positive," said goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
     
"We have the obligation to have a good tournament and the objective is to win it."
     
Mean defence:

Deschamps' men have been in fine form, winning nine of their last 10 matches over the past year with their only defeat coming to England when minds were focused elsewhere just days after the November Paris terror attacks.

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