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Big Match Breakdown: France v Italy

Dave Burin | 1 June 2018

Les Bleus gearing up for the World Cup

France continue their preparation for this summer’s World Cup with a friendly against Italy in Nice.

Their visitors have failed to reach the tournament for the first time since 1958. But fans of Gli Azzurri will be hoping for a good start to the Roberto Mancini era.

Ahead of this meeting of two of Europe’s most storied sides, the Coral News Team have all the need-to-know in another Big Match Breakdown.

Head-to-Head

There’s been no shortage of meetings between these sides – with tonight’s clash the 37th time the sides have met.

Italy have won 18 meetings to France’s 10, including the World Cup Final in 2006.

However, it’s Les Bleus who’ve had the better of this fixture in recent years. They’ve won three of the last five meetings, including each of the last two.

Likely XIs

Paul Pogba could return to France’s starting XI in a midfield five, just ahead of Steven Nzonzi in the holding role. Antoine Griezmann is likely to lead the line.

With Mancini newly-appointed, he’ll likely spend a few games chopping and changing to find his preferred side.

Highly rated centre-back Mattia Caldara is in the squad, and could make his senior debut. Andrea Belotti featured as a sub against Saudi Arabia on Monday, but will probably start here.

Key Battles

The best Italy sides through history have been built on a strong defence – and Mancini’s first job is to get a well-balanced backline.

They could scarcely have a bigger baptism of fire than a France side with the finishing of Griezmann, the pace of Mbappe and the physicality of Pogba.

For France, it’s Griezmann’s chance to show he should be leading the line this summer. Bag a goal or two here, and his hopes could enjoy a huge boost.

Match Odds

In the match betting, France are 6/10 favourites for a victory on home soil. Coral’s odds make it 5/2 for the Draw, while an Italy win is 9/2.

Four of Les Bleus’ last six games have seen three or more goals scored. It’s 11/10 for Over 2.5 Goals here, while France to Win and Both Teams to Score is 29/10.

Griezmann is 7/5 to find the net Anytime, with the same price on his teammate Olivier Giroud. For Italy, Andrea Belotti is 13/5 to get on the scoresheet.

France won the last head-to-head 3-1, and also chalked up that scoreline in March’s defeat of Russia. Another 3-1 win for Les Bleus is 14/1.

Big match previews, betting tips and transfer news – we’ve got it all.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing