France take on Italy on Friday looking for a good result in their penultimate friendly game ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Les Bleus are one of the favourites for the tournament after reaching the Euro 2016 final and are in good form at the moment after kicking off their serious preparation with a win earlier this week.
Didier Deschamps’ men beat Ireland 2-0 on Monday and will be confident taking on a side missing out on a spot in the tournament. However, after starting his reign with a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia, Roberto Mancini will be demanding a strong display.
Goal brings you all you need to know ahead of the friendly clash between the two sides including team news, squad predictions and TV information.
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
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Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Lloris, Areola, Mandanda|
|Defenders||Varane, Umtiti, Pavard, Kimpembe, Rami, Mendy, Hernandez, Sidibe|
|Midfielders||Kante, N’Zonzi, Pogba, Tolisso, Matuidi, Fekir, Lemar, Mbappe, Dembele, Thauvin|
Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Antoine Griezmann were all on the bench in their win over Ireland, but the trio could start against the Azzurri on Friday.
Deschamps is expected to alter his starting XI slightly, but Olivier Giroud is likely to keep his place up front to play alongside Atletico Madrid star Griezmann.
Meanwhile, there is a concern over Djibril Sidibe after he left training early on Wednesday, but he could still make the game.
Potential starting XI: Lloris; Sidibe, Rami, Umtiti, Mendy; Mbappe, Kante, Pogba, Lemar; Giroud, Griezmann
|Goalkeepers||Donnarumma, Perin, Sirigu|
|Defenders||Romagnoli, Bonucci, Caldara, Rugani, Criscito, Florenzi, Zappacosta, D’Ambrosio, De Sciglio|
|Midfielders||Jorginho, Pellegrini, Bonaventura, Cristante, Baselli, Mandragora, Insigne, Chiesa, Berardi, Verdi, Politano|
|Forwards||Belotti, Zaza, Balotelli|
New coach Roberto Mancini will hope to see Mario Balotelli continue his scoring form, even if he felt the Nice man could have done more for the side in their previous match.
Domenico Criscito was the only defender to have been subbed off – after 88 minutes – in the match against Saudi Arabia, making it likely that Mancini is concentrating first on defensive solidity.
However, despite facing such tough opposition, the former Man City boss could well ring the changes as he seeks to find his best starting XI and propel the Azzurri back to former glory.
Potential starting XI: Donnarumma, Di Sciglio, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Darmian; Pellegrini, Jorginho, Florenzi; Politano, Belotti, Insigne
Betting & Match Odds
France are the favourites, according to dabblebet, and are available at 8/13, while Italy are priced 17/4 and a draw is 13/5.
Click here to see all of dabblebet’s offers for this weeks’ international friendly matches.
France are big favourites to win their World Cup group ahead of Australia, Denmark and Peru, but coach Deschamps will be hoping to iron out a few kinks in their last two matches.
Taking on an Azzurri side still getting to terms with Roberto Mancini’s reign and not heading to Russia, France will be confident on Friday, especially as it has been 10 years since they lost to their rivals.
Les Bleus have won the last two friendlies between them, with Italy’s last victory coming at Euro 2008, but the latter will be hoping Mancini’s new tenure is the beginning of a huge turnaround.
Italy striker Mario Balotelli marked his return to international football with a goal against Saudi Arabia earlier in the week, but Mancini complained afterwards that he could have done “much better”.
The ex-Manchester City star could be dropped for Friday’s encounter with Andrea Belotti and Simone Zaza competing for his place.
Considering the players on both sides, there is no shortage of dangerous talent with the likes of Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Giroud taking on Andrea Belotti, Jorginho and Lorenzo Insigne.
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