Saturday, September 22, 2018

Prediction: France vs Italy

Prediction: Anytime goalscorer – Antoine Griezmann

Odds: 13/2

Bookmaker: Bet365

France continue their preparations for the 2018 World Cup on Friday as they take on Italy at the Allianz Riviera.

Having not made the tournament, the Italians will look to earn a positive result in Roberto Mancini second game in charge of the Azzurri.

France

Didier Deschamps’ men got their warm up for the upcoming World Cup off to the best possible start on Monday evening as they defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-0. Goals from Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir secured the victory for Les Blues. As a matter of fact, France are in excellent form heading to Russia. Since their infamous defeat to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016, they have only lost three out of their last 21 games. Even more impressively, they found the net in all-but four of those, although those blanks did come against the likes of Spain, Belarus, Ivory Coast and Luxembourg.

That excellent form powered the French to qualification in Russia as they finished top of their group having only conceded six goals throughout their ten games.

Team News

There was a few surprises when Deschamps’ World Cup squad was announced. The likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial and Wissam Ben Yedder all missed out. He does have one injury to contend with for the match with Italy. Monaco man Djibril Sidibe was withdrawn during training so could miss out. Meanwhile, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Antoine Griezmann, who were all named as substitutes against Ireland, could be recalled to the starting line-up.

Italy

Elsewhere, Roberto Mancini got his reign as Italy boss off to a positive start on Monday evening as his team defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1. Mario Balotelli, upon his recall to the national set-up struck the opening goal, before Andrea Belotti notched the second. The win ensured that the Azzurri ended a run of four games without a victory. The Italian national team had not previously gone five games without a win since 2014. That run of form really has really cost Italy having failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Despite only losing one game throughout their entire qualification campaign, the Italians only managed to finish second in Group G, behind winners Spain. They eventually fell to Sweden in the playoffs. As a result, any sort of positive result against the World Cup-bound French could go some way in restoring a slender margin of national pride.

Team News

With the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon and Claudio Marchisio not available, a youthful squad has been named by Mancini. Gianluigi Donnarumma and Lorenzo Insigne could potentially start again. Balotelli, meanwhile, could be set to lead the line thanks to his positive performance against Saudi Arabia.

Key Facts To Consider

  • Italy have the better all-time record between the two teams (W18, D8, L10)
  • The Azzurri have only defeated France twice in their last 12 games
  • France won the last clash on home soil on penalties at the 1998 World Cup
  • There has not been a 0-0 draw between the two since 2007
  • Italy have lost three consecutive games against Les Blues only once before

Conclusion

Despite this game boasting numerous stars on both sides, France’s experience and motivation should earn Deschamps’ men the advantage. It will not be an overwhelming victory, however. It could be a good bet to suggest that both sides will find the net. Griezmann could well be the man to get the first goal.

Prediction: Anytime goalscorer – Antoine Griezmann

Odds: 13/2

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is currently a second-year football journalism student at the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately four years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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