Saturday, September 22, 2018

Prediction: France vs Republic of Ireland

Verdict: France/France

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: William Hill

Euro 2016 runners up France head to Russia hoping to mount a serious title challenge, with warm-up games against Ireland, Italy and USA set to serve as final tests for the 2018 World Cup finals. Republic of Ireland will not be going to Russia after losing to Denmark in the play-offs, but they will relish the opportunity to test their skills against one of world’s leading national teams.

France

France have shown a great deal of promise under Didier Deschamps, but they missed a glorious opportunity to lift the European Championship title on home soil two years ago, losing to Portugal in the final. Les Bleus have since continued with promising displays, and managed to reach the 2018 World Cup finals, albeit experiencing some problems in their qualifying campaign. France eventually managed to pip Sweden and Netherlands to the first place in the group and they now need to prepare for the final tournament the best way they can.

With so many quality footballers to select from, Didier Deschamps was always going to have a difficult job in naming the final squad, and he eventually decided to omit the likes of Dimitri Payet, Alexandre Lacazette, Adrien Rabiot, Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman, but he takes a very strong squad to Russia, no doubt about that. France will want to continue with strong performances after the 3-1 triumph over the 2018 World Cup hosts, and the game against Republic of Ireland will serve as a good opportunity for the fans to give their players a good sending off ahead of the trip to Russia.

Team News

Laurent Koscielny and Dimitri Payet miss out through injury, whereas Adrien Rabiot has asked to be removed from the reserve list.

Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland national team have shown a great deal of improvement since Martin O’Neill took over the reigns, performing really well at the Euro 2016, where they came really close to upsetting eventual runners-up France in the first knockout stage. The Irish performed admirably in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers as well, as they ultimately beat the likes of Wales and Austria to the play-off berth, defeating Wales on the road in the final group fixture.

However, Republic of Ireland were then hammered by Denmark in the play-offs, meaning they now begin preparations for the Euro 2020. After the 1-0 defeat to Turkey back in March, the Irish are set to take on France and the United States in two friendlies over the next few days, and manager Martin O’Neill decided to include four uncapped footballers in his squad for said matches.

Team News

The likes of Shane Supple, Graham Burke, Shaun Williams and Conor O’Malley could all get a chance to win their first caps, but Sean Maguire misses out through injury.

Scott Hogan, Glenn Whelan, Cyrus Christie and Conor Hourihan are on club duty, whereas Kieren Westwood, Ciaran Clark and Darren Randolph are also unavailable.

Key Factors to Consider

  • France defeated Rep of Ireland in Euro 2016 Last 16 stage clash
  • Les Bleus won three of their last five meetings (D2)
  • Seven of their last nine meetings produced under 2.5 goals
  • Ireland winless in last three (D1 L2)
  • France scored two or more goals in last five

Conclusion

Out-of-sorts Republic of Ireland will struggle to match star-studded France in one of their final warm-up games for the 2018 World Cup finals and we fully expect the hosts to record a comfortable triumph at Stade de France.

Verdict: France/France

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: William Hill

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