Match Preview: France vs Wales, The French look to start Euro preparation on a positive note against the Welsh side
France takes on Wales at the Allianz Riveria, Nice in a friendly game on Wednesday night. This comes as a part of friendly series ahead of Euro 2020 as it edges closer. France enters the tournament as hot favourites and the world champions. They fell agonizingly short of Euro glory in 2016 and would be out for revenge. Wales are looking to replicate their semi-final run in 2016 which shocked the world.
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) June 1, 2021
Didier Deschamps’s side has some of the best names in world football in their ranks. The star quality across every position is mind-blowing. As a result, they have dominated the world football scenario in the past few years and look to win big at the Euro. They have topped their Europ qualification group with eight wins.
However, they have been pitted in a tough group of death with defending champions Portugal who ended their dream four years ago, and Germany and Hungary. The Les Blues are looking to avenge their 2016 loss by kicking Portugal out and have recalled their senior statesman Karim Benzema to the squad.
Wales meanwhile have been rocked by the Ryan Giggs scandal just before the tournament. The Wales manager is about to stand trial following assault allegations from his girlfriend. Assistant coach Robert Page took over as the interim head coach. The interim coach is under massive pressure as he finds himself under the spotlight and the hopes of a nation rest on his shoulder. Gareth Bale as usual would be their talisman as they are in tough Group-A alongside Italy, Turkey and Switzerland.
France’s team got all hands on the deck as they want to dominate the Euros. Karim Benzema has been recalled to the national team after years in the wilderness. They also have no major injury concerns before the tournament.
Nothing like a fun day at work 😎 pic.twitter.com/nxUZayzvO6
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) June 1, 2021
Given it’s a friendly game and it comes just days before the tournament Deschamps won’t be risking his stars. We can expect fringe players like Wissam Ben Yedder, Ousmane Dembele to start ahead of the usual suspects like Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba. N’golo Kante who played in the Champions League final is expected to miss out.
FRANCE PREDICTED XI
Mike Maignan; Leo Dubois, Jules Kounde, Clement Lenglet, Lucas Digne; Adrien Rabiot, Moussa Sissoko; Ousmane Dembele, Wissam Ben Yedder, Thomas Lemar; Karim Benzema
Wales have few injury concerns ahead of the clash. Key players like Ethan Ampadu, Joe Allen and Ben Davies are sidelined due to injuries. The Dragons are trusting in a young crop at the back and in the middle as they have the experienced Gareth Bale leading the line. They deploy an attacking 3-4-3 formation with attacking wingbacks.
— FA WALES (@FAWales) May 31, 2021
It’ll be interesting to see how Robert Page manages his charges in the absence of Giggs. They need to be at their very best to stop France.
WALES PREDICTED XI:
Danny Ward; Joe Rodon, Chris Mepham, Tom Lockyer; Chris Gunter, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Morrell, Jonny Williams; Gareth Bale, Kiefer Moore, Dan James
Karim Benzema returning to the national side after five years in the dark. He is in the form of his career as he is single-handedly carrying Real Madrid. His finishing has been nonchalant and he has added link-up play to his game. He holds the ball up and brings wingers into play. He is also dropping infield more to initiate attacks. He’d suit France’s system perfectly.
Tellement fier de ce retour en équipe de France et de la confiance que l’on m’accorde. Merci à ma famille, mes amis, mon club, à vous… et à tous ceux qui m’ont toujours soutenu et me donnent de la force au quotidien 🙏🏼 #AllezLesBleus #Euro2021 #Blessed #AlHamdullilah pic.twitter.com/b8PJj1BATm
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) May 18, 2021
Wales midfield misses Joe Allen who could’ve been the perfect deterrent to Benzema. They have to bank on Ramsey and Morrell to keep Benzema out of the game and dominate the midfield.
Gareth Bale is the shining light in the Welsh side. The lively winger rediscovered himself on loan at Tottenham and got some much-needed minutes in London. His loan spell started slowly but he picked pace and returned to match fitness. Bale found his goal-scoring touch as well and would love to lead Wales on another surprising run at the Euros.
Lucas Digne would be tasked with flanking Bale and prevent him from cutting inside from the wing. They need to contain Bale and not give him any space to run behind.
France is undoubtedly the favourite going into this game. Even without their starters, their squad strength is enough to dominate Wales. Robert Page’s side has been fearless in the past. Their tendency to go toe to toe with superior sides has helped in the Euro 2016 as well. They’ll be hoping for a repeat of that.
We at FootTheBall expect France to outplay the Welsh and win the game 3-1 comfortably.