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Prediction: Italy vs France

Verdict: France Draw no bet

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

New coach Giampiero Ventura will not have an easy task on his Italy debut as the Azzurri play host to star-studded France at Stadio Comunale San Nicola in Bari. Les Bleus failed to lift the Euro 2016 title on home soil and will be looking to show a response to the disappointing defeat in the final with a win over their old rivals.

Italy

The Italian national team haven’t exactly enjoyed too much success of late, and it’s now been ten years since they lifted their last major trophy. After Cesare Prandelli led the Azzurri to a second-place finish at the Euro 2012, his side crashed out in the group stages at the 2014 World Cup before showings some improvement under Antonio Conte. Italy defied the odds to reach the Euro 2016 last eight and almost made it to the semis, but they eventually lost to Germany on penalties. Former Torino coach Giampiero Ventura was chosen as the man to replace the now Chelsea manager, and the decision definitely raised some eyebrows. It is now up to the new boss to prove his worth on the Italy bench and he has already left his stamp on the team with his first squad. Torino striker Andrea Belotti and AC Milan wonderkid Gianluigi Donnarumma are the more notable newcomers, whereas Daniele Rugani and Alessio Romagnoli have been promoted from the Under-21 set-up. Juventus stopper Andrea Barzagli has decided to come out of international retirement, while West Ham centre-back Andrea Ogbonna is a surprise inclusion.

Team News

Sassuolo winger Domenico Berardi misses out through a knee injury, although he does not seem to fit in Ventura’s 3-5-2 formation anyway.

Marco Verratti, Manolo Gabbiadini, Ciro Immobile and Graziano Pelle all return, with Genoa striker Leonardo Pavoletti included as well.

France

France missed a glorious opportunity to win what would have been their third major trophy on home soil as they were beaten in the final by Portugal, and they will attempt to banish the memories of the Stade de France defeat with a win over Italy. With Didier Deschamps staying at the helm and his side showing plenty of promise at the showpiece tournament, no major changes were expected, but the likes of Bacary Sagna and Patrice Evra have been omitted. Alphonse Areola, Benoit Costil, Sebastien Corchia and Djibril Sidibe will have an opportunity to win their first caps, as Didier Deschamps could experiment in the clash with Italy. Les Bleus have been quite convincing in international friendlies, winning nine of last ten matches, and they look a good bet to see off new look Azzurri as well. France will face Belarus on the road in their opening 2018 World Cup Qualifying fixture on Tuesday, but Les Bleus will also want to beat old rivals Italy in Bari. Didier Deschamps has seen several players withdraw from his squad through injury, but star players Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann are included and chances are the trio will prove a handful for opposition defenders.

Team News

Hugo Lloris and Jeremy Mathieu were not included in the original squad through injury, whereas Christoph Jallet, Bacary Sagna, Patrice Evra, Hatem Ben Arfa and Morgan Schneiderlin were overlooked.

Alexandre Lacazette, Yohan Cabaye and Nabil Fekir have withdrawn, with Kevin Gameiro, Ousmane Dembele and Geoffrey Kondogbia called to replace them.

Key Factors to Consider

  • France won the only friendly fixture against Italy so far
  • Les Bleus won nine of last ten friendly games
  • Italy and France finished as runners up at last two Euros
  • Giampiero Ventura set for Italy debut
  • France won 4 of last 6 friendly games on the road (L2)

Conclusion

Despite showing plenty of promise at the Euro 2016 finals, we seriously doubt this Italy side are good enough to match star-studded France and we don’t think Giampiero Ventura will enjoy a winning debut. Les Bleus have got plenty of quality throughout the squad and we can see them winning in Bari.

Verdict: France Draw no bet

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

Wed 31 Aug, 2016
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