Chris Coleman’s Wales side travel to the Stade de France on Friday evening for a friendly with European Championship finalists France. The Welsh will look to put the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia firmly behind them with a victory over Didier Deschamps men.
The hosts head into the clash in Paris in a confident mood having qualified for next year’s showpiece tournament in style. Les Blues finished top of Group A on 23 points after ten games having only lost one match to playoff-bound Sweden, finishing four points clear of their closest rivals. Their defence was rather eye-catching too – the 1998 World Champions only conceded six goals in the process of earning their ticket to Russia.
Their latest form also suggests that the French will surely be a huge test for the Welsh. They have not lost in five games and earned victory in their last clash with a 2-1 over Belarus. As a matter of fact, they have only lost one out of their 19 games on home soil, that solitary reverse coming in the form of a 2-0 defeat to Spain back in June. The French have managed to find the back of the net on 49 occasions in that time, just marginally short of three goals a game. The Dragons then will surely have to utilise all of their defensive talents to halt Didier Deschamps’ troops.
The French have plenty to call upon for the visit of Wales on Friday evening. Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has been recalled to the squad, whilst Steven N’Zonzi and Benjamin Pavard have been given their first call-ups. Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is missing with an adductor injury. Ousmane Dembélé is also ruled-out as he struggles with a long-term injury.
Following their heroics in reaching the Euro 2016 semi-finals, Wales have had to taste considerable disappointment since. The nation failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup as they lost a crunch game against the Republic of Ireland 1-0. Finishing third in Group D, the Dragons missed out on the play-offs by two points having collected 17 throughout qualification. Chris Coleman’s men only managed to win four games and scored a disappointing 13 goals.
They were however extremely difficult to overcome as they only fell to one defeat – their five draws proved to be the sticking point. Prior to the loss in Cardiff, Wales had only lost one game out of their 13, an impressive record most will agree. They do also head to the Stade de France with some more than positive recent away results. The Dragons have won their last two games away from the Principality Stadium, conceding zero goals. Consequently, they do now have the opportunity to notch three successive away victories outside of major tournaments for the first time ever.
Chris Coleman does unfortunately have a few major injuries for the trip to Paris. Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has been ruled out with a calf injury whilst fellow attackers Hal Robson-Kanu and Lloyd Isgrove are also unavailable. Midfielder Emyr Huws and Johnny Williams will not feature either. The likes of Tom Bradshaw, Lee Evans and Ryan Hedges have all been called-up in their places.
Key Facts to Consider
- Wales have never won three consecutive away games outside of major tournaments
- France have the marginally better record between the two (W2, D1, L1)
- Wales won the last game 1-0 between the two sides in 1982
- Didier Deschamps men have not lost since a 2-0 defeat against Spain in June
- France have scored a remarkable nine goals in four games against the Dragons
Most should expect a France win at the Stade de France on Friday evening. Wales’ injuries coupled with their recent inability to score, should serve the hosts extremely well.
Les Blues’ talented squad should create more than enough opportunities to net in front of their home fans and it could be a productive night for the French. Wales could struggle.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!