Preview - France vs Italy 02 June 18

Started by Harry85, Jun 01, 2018, 07:11 PM

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International Friendly
France vs Italy
Saturday, June 2nd, 2018
04:00am (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium: Allianz Riviera

Last five matches form: W D L W W
Average goals per match: 1.80
Average goals against per match: 0.60
Top Scorer: Olivier Giroud (31)

Last five matches form: L D L D W
Average goals per match: 1.75
Average goals against per match: 0.75
Top Scorer: Mario Balotelli (14)

Didier Deschamps' France side continue their World Cup preparations with what is just about the most high profile of this week's international friendlies as Italy travel to the Allianz Riviera in Nice.

France are many people's idea of the winner headed into the looming finals, such is the strength in depth of the squad. Solid in qualifying, this group of players probably do represent the nations biggest chance of success since the victory on home soil in 1998.

Les Bleus friendlies in the build up to the tournament have gone well in the main, with wins over Wales, Ireland and Russia as well as a solid draw with Germany. A 3-2 defeat to Colombia did feature a pretty calamitous defensive showing though, and Deschamps will be hoping that was no more than a blip.

Having been the most high-profile nation to miss out on the finals, a change at the top was deemed necessary at Italy with the reins now being handed to Roberto Mancini. On of Mancini's first acts has been to recall Mario Balotelli to the squad, and the flamboyant front man will certainly be at home in this game having spent the previous season playing his club football for Nice.

Mancini started with a win over Saudi Arabia in his first game in charge and Italy have generally performed with credit in recent friendlies, including in a draw with England. Another draw here wouldn't be the biggest surprise, but on home soil we expect this talented French outfit to just about do enough to come out on top.

Prediction: France 2 - 1 Italy


Half time: 2 - 1
Full time: 3 - 1
Shots: 12 - 15
Shots on target: 6 - 6
Corner Kicks: 3 - 4
Possession: 57% - 43%

Just the one card issued by referee Anthony Taylor, with Italy's Lorenzo Pellegrini the man to see yellow.

The home side's opener came in the eighth minute. When the ball was whipped back into the area from the right having initially been cleared from a free kick on the left-hand side, it made it's way all the way through to Kylian Mbappé at the far post. His volleyed effort was saved by keeper Salvataroe Sirigu, but only spilled as far as Samuel Umtiti who simply couldn't miss an open goal from around a yard out.

Italy came back into the game, with Mario Balotelli in particular looking lively, but it was France who came closest to grabbing the second goal of the game. N'golo Kanté rattling the woodwork when striking the foot of the left-hand post from around 25 yards.

The home side did double their lead in the 29th minute, courtesy of a penalty kick. Rolando Mandragora tripping Lucas Hernandez in the area and Antoine Griezmann stepping up to convert.

Balotelli was within inches of winning a penalty for Italy in the 36th minute when being fouled only just outside the box. No matter though, When Lloris could only parry Balotelli's free kick, Leonardo Bonucci was on hand to convert the rebound. 2-1 at the break.

It was France who created the first big chance of the second half. Excellent work by Ousmane Dembele down the left hand side, working his way into the box before cutting inside and crashing an effort against the cross bar.

This was a very even encounter at times, with Federico Chiesa in particular doing well for Italy.

In the end though it was Dembele who put this game to bed in the 63rd minute. Receiving the ball on the left-hand corner of the 18 yard box, the youngster finished first time with an excellent curling strike into the top right hand corner.

Balotelli continued to find space in the area, but to no avail.

3-1 final score.

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