Brazil’s Samba Boys hoping to dance against old foes France
Les Bleus welcome the boisterous Samba Boys back to the Stade de France, the ground where French football famously reached its pinnacle back in 1998, with a World Cup final triumph against Brazil. No trophies are at stake this time, but there is still Gallic pride to play for. So, make the most of Coral’s generous matchday offer, by backing France to win and both teams to score at fantastic odds of 5/1 (maximum stake £20).
In a duel stuffed with Galacticos, Les Bleus will be missing super stopper Hugo Lloris and Juventus midfield dynamo Paul Pogba.
Both losses are big blows, but Didier Deschamps’ exciting crop of French fledglings will still be eager to test themselves against the skill of the Samba Boys.
Since conceding 10 in the World Cup over two games against European powers Germany and the Netherlands, the South American nation have kept six clean sheets from seven.
This means superstar striker Karim Benzema (11/2 to bag the opener) and back-up option Olivier Giroud (the same price to have the final say) will have to be at their best to breach Brazil’s backline.
In support will likely be flexible Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann and Lyon’s leading scorer Alexandre Lacazette.
The potent pair have notched up an impressive 44 goals across all competitions between them, and are 15/8 and 7/4 in the anytime market respectively, while potential debutant Nabil Fekir is 9/4.
Brazil, as usual, also boast a formidable array of forwards. The Samba Boys have bounced back since their World Cup capitulation, and look a far sturdier unit under determined coach Dunga.
The visitors have won all of their last six games under his stewardship, but France will be by far their biggest challenge since a 2-0 triumph over Argentina.
At 4/1 for a victory to nil, a potential centre back pairing of Joao Miranda and Thiago Silva could see the hosts shut out. Meanwhile, in attack, talented trickster Neymar has struck seven goals during Dunga’s tenure and is 9/2 to net first, or 6/1 to bag a brace or better.
Neymar may be joined by Chelsea duo Oscar (10/3 to score anytime) and Willian (5/1), who have been fixtures of late, while apparent Manchester United target Roberto Firmino finished the scoring last time out, and is 8/1 to do so again.
Brazil just edge the head to head record with six wins to France’s five and, still with something to prove, may be the best bet. However, these two teams have such an array of top talents between them, that a draw at 9/4 to cancel each other out is also tempting.