Preview - Russia vs France 28 March 2018

Started by Harry85, Mar 27, 2018, 03:39 AM

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Mar 27, 2018, 03:39 AM Last Edit: Mar 27, 2018, 03:42 AM by Harry85
International Friendly
Russia vs France
Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
00:30am (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: Krestovsky Stadium

Last five matches form: W D L D L
Average goals per match: 1.5
Average goals against per match: 1.4
Top Scorer: Fyodor Smolov (11)

Last five matches form: W W W D L
Average goals per match: 1.8
Average goals against per match: 0.6
Top Scorer: Olivier Giroud (30)

The latest batch of international friendlies continues apace this week, with a number of fairly high-profile match-ups in store. One of the highlights sees a clash between two sides who will be competing at the big one in the summer, as World Cup hosts, Russia, take on Didier Deschamps' talented French side.

Both sides arrive here on the back of a defeat at the weekend. Russia's loss was hardly unexpected, coming as it did against a dangerous Brazil side who are many peoples idea of this year's World Cup winners. In truth Russia did pretty well in that match for long periods but were in the end undone by Brazil's far greater quality in the final third.

France's 2-3 defeat Colombia at the Stade Francais was a little more surprising, particularly as les bleus were 2-0 up and seemingly cruising in the first half. As soon as they were put under a little pressure by the Colombians though they began to capitulate in an alarming manner.

France are the better side here and will surely be eager to get that Colombian collapse out of their system at the earliest opportunity. Ultimately, they should just about do enough. Russia engineered plenty of promising situations against Brazil though, and with France appearing rather shaky at the back at present, they can at least be expected to get on the scoresheet.

Prediction: Russia 1 - 2 France


Half time: 0 - 1
Full time: 1 - 3
Shots: 6 - 8
Shots on target: 2 - 3
Corner Kicks: 5 - 4
Possession: 50% - 50%

The stats would suggest that this was a closely fought affair, and in the main it was. It was only really France's greater quality in front of goal that made the difference in the end. International football is a game of small margins though and a moment or two of quality is often all it takes.

The opener came in the 40th minute. A restored to the starting line-up Paul Pogba spotted the run of Kylian Mbappè and played an incisive through ball into the box. Mbappè did the rest, cutting in across his marker on the right-hand side to fire low into the bottom corner. 0-1 at half-time.

Paul Pogba was really on his game tonight and in the 49th minute he made it two. Lining up a free kick just left of centre and around 25 yards from goal, the Man United man curled a beauty passed a despairing Andrey Lunev and into the left hand side of the goal.

Russia probably deserved a goal, and in the 68th minute they got one. Substitute Igor Smolnikov breaking down the right-hand side before playing an excellent low cross to the far post to find Fedor Smolov bearing down on goal to apply the side foot finish into the bottom corner.

France's third came in the 83rd minute and it was that man Mbappè again. Receiving the ball on the left-hand side of the 18 yard box, a couple of tricks left the Russian defence bamboozled, allowing the PSG front man to fire a low effort on goal. Lunev really should have done better than allow the ball to pass straight through his legs, but in it went. Final score 1-3.

Looking at these two sides heading into this summers finals, France have the look of a side who will score plenty but may be found wanting at the back. Russia meanwhile appear to have problems at both ends of the pitch, with a lack of a cutting edge up front looking like being a major stumbling block.

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