France face tough World Cup warm-up friendly against Norway
Although France (six wins) hold the slight upper-hand over Norway (five) in their 15 head-to-heads, the latter have not lost against Les Bleus in their last four meetings – including three draws. Back them at 10/3 to take a share of the spoils again.
World Cup finalists France face Norway in a pre-tournament friendly at the Stade de France, and are 2/5 odds-on favourites to win in preparation for Didier Deschamps’ first tournament as a manager.
It is Norway, however, who have also managed the most goals in this fixture – mainly due to their 7-0 triumph in the first ever meeting in 1922 – and the match is priced at 13/8 for both sides to score. Norway won the last match against Les Bleus 2-1, in 2010, and are 15/2 chances to beat them again, or 33/1 to record that scoreline.
France will be desperately hoping to get their confidence up following failings and controversies in the last few years in the international set-up, including most recently the public spat with Samir Nasri (and girlfriend) after his squad exclusion.
Since Les Bleus’ World Cup final appearance in 2006, they have largely flopped at the two major international tournaments. In South Africa 2010, they gained just one point in their group to finish bottom, and suffered the that exact same feat at the 2008 European Championships, while they could only manage to reach as far as the quarter-finals in 2012.
Deschamps, however, is a born winner, and captained France to triumph at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. His nation are odds-on both to top Group E at the finals, and 1/5 to progress to the knockout rounds, while they are 25/1 to lift the trophy – thus making Deschamps only the second person to get the title as player and manager.
For goals in this friendly fixture, recent Champions League and FA Cup winners respectively Karim Benzema (8/13 to score anytime) and Olivier Giroud (8/11) are the main contenders for the home side.
Norwegian hopes rest on Hoffenheim winger Tarik Elyounoussi (11/4 to net anytime) and former Manchester United – now at Blackburn – youth player Joshua King (7/2). Ex-Rovers favourite Morten Gamst Pedersen (currently at Rosenborg) is priced at 11/4 to get a goal.