The countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup is officially underway, and with just over two weeks remaining until the biggest event in world football, the preparations have begun for all 32 teams. Many nations who aren’t going will already be thinking about the next tournament that they can qualify for, but for France, they’re gearing up for a summer which could very easily see them become world champions for the first time in 20 years.
They took another confident step towards Russia tonight with a convincing 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland, who are one of the aforementioned teams who will be thinking about the qualification process for UEFA Euro 2020. Tonight was always going to be something of a nothing game for them, and from the word go it was evident to see that both sides were just kind of going through the motions in Paris.
Everyone knows about the history these two nations have shared over the years, with Thierry Henry’s handball still being a point of contention to this day. However, actions speak louder than words, and the French have put together a squad which will undoubtedly be sending shivers down the spine of every other country in the World Cup this year.
Following a relatively dull opening for most of the first half, Olivier Giroud popped up with the first goal of the game to give himself a boost ahead of the tournament. Nabil Fekir, who has been heavily linked to Liverpool and will likely continue to be spoken about on Merseyside for the next few weeks, made it two with a nice finish that certainly wouldn’t have done his chances of starting in Russia any harm.
The French are considered to be one of the favourites to win the World Cup for a reason, and they’ll continue to try and prove what they can do in their next two warm-up games against Italy and the United States – both of whom will also miss out on the tournament. Then, in a few weeks time, they’ll officially kick off their campaign against Australia as they aim to make a statement in the group stage.
France: Mandanda (7); Sidibe (6.5), Rami (7), Umtiti (7), Mendy (7); N’Zonzi (6.5); Tolisso (6), Matuidi (7); Fekir (7.5); Giroud (7.5), Mbappe (6.5)
Subs: Pavard (N/A), Kimpembe (6), Hernandez (6), Pogba (N/A), Griezmann (6.5), Dembele (N/A)
Ireland: Doyle (6); Coleman (7), Duffy (6.5), Long (5.5), Williams (6); Walters (5.5), Browne (6), Rice (6), O’Dowda (5.5), McClean (5.5); Long (5)
Subs: Williams (N/A), Doherty (N/A), Meyler (5.5), Arter (6), Burke (N/A), Judge (N/A)
Goals: Giroud, Fekir
Referee: Georgi Kabakov
Yellow Cards: Arter, McClean
Red Cards: N/A
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