Reigning World Cup champions and second favourites to win the tournament behind Brazil. Only once before has a team triumphed to back-to-back World Cups though France started their defence in style, easing through their qualification campaign. With newly crowned Ballon D’Or Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe to pair and strength in depth in pretty much every position, Les Bleus come into this one brimming with confidence.
It’s now time for you to go into every France game brimming with confidence that you can back a winning bet builder. The following stats pack runs down the stats for goals, shots, corners, and cards as quickly as Benzema ran down Karius in the Champions League Final. If you need any assistance on how to use it, just take a scroll through my Stats Pack Guide first.
In their 8 matches, France coasted to top spot in Group D of the European World Cup Qualifiers. They managed to get 5 wins, 3 draws and ended it unbeaten.
The stats highlight just how dominant they were, having over double their opponents’ goals, xG, shots, shots on target and corners. That’s overwhelmingly good.
All well and good right? Well in very similar fashion to England, France had a dismal Nations League campaign and only narrowly avoided relegation. They managed just one win (more than England), two draws and three losses.
They’ll be hoping to recover their unstoppable form from the Qualifiers rather than continuing to put up performances like in the Nations League.
Didier Deschamps used both the qualifiers and the Nations League to play about with his formations. Half his runouts in the Nations League adopted 4 at the back, while the other half adopted 3.
In the World Cup qualifiers, his most popular choice was a 3-4-1-2 which he used 33.5% of the time.
I would expect Deschamps to choose this 3-4-1-2 given the success he has had in order to utilise the likes of Mbappe and Benzema in their preferred positions – out and out strikers.
With Nkunku’s outrageous performances at Leipzig over the last two seasons, he may well give Griezmann a shove onto the bench, while the Galactico duo of Camavinga and Tchouameni may start behind.
The Premier League influence in the side may well come from the likes of Lloris and Saliba, although Bayern’s Upamecano is also pushing for a start.
PLAYER SHOTS AND SHOTS ON TARGET
It’s hard to separate Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema for attacking influence in a game, and this graphic highlights exactly that. Mbappe edges his compatriot in both shots on target per 90 and shots per 90 by 0.01 and 0.04 respectively.
You won’t get much value in shots odds for these two for that reason exactly, so you may have more luck elsewhere.
Domestically, Christopher Nkunku has averaged 1.06 on target from 2.30 shots per 90 in the Bundesliga and will be one to watch in a centre-forward position. Similarly, Griezmann has averaged 1.62 and 2.94 respectively for Atletico Madrid.
As far as picking between the Real Madrid men, Aurelien Tchouameni (1.46 p/90) outshoots Eduardo Camavinga (1.30 p/90) and Ferland Mendy (0.13 p/90), although the latter will be in a more attacking wing-back role than he plays for his club.
PLAYER GOALS AND ASSISTS
Antoine Griezmann may have shocked a lot of people as he outscored both Mbappe and Benzema in qualifying, and certainly puts his name in the mix for not just a start but possibly even a longshot at Golden Boot (40/1).
Griezmann and Mbappe were both involved in 7 goals apiece, although the PSG main man made two appearances less.
Once again, it’ll be tough to call whether Deschamps backs the more experienced Griezmann or the more in-form Nkunku.
The Leipzig man managed 33 goal contributions (20G 13A) in 34 Bundesliga appearances last season and has notched 9 in 12 this campaign.
FRANCE CARDS (FOR)
Ousmane Dembele managed to get into the referee’s book despite just 2 appearances and 117 minutes, and that explains why his foul stats are skewed.
Your better bets are with the French defence, as they are most likely to come under threat on the counter. Jules Kounde (1.82) and Presnel Kimpembe (1.80) will come up against Kasper Dolberg of Denmark (who beat them twice in the Nations League) and Wahbi Khazri of Tunisia in the group stages alone which should put them under some stress.
Similarly, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni may find themselves drawing a few professional fouls on the counter and make 1.48 and 1.71 fouls respectively per 90 Madrid minutes.
FRANCE CARDS (AGAINST)
Kylian Mbappe (1.35) is certainly the one to watch, and the one that every defender will be dreading. With his pace ultimately the only option can be to bring him down.
Denmark’s Rasmus Kristensen and Joachim Andersen are Premier League calibre foul-makers having racked up 4 and 2 cards respectively so far. Meanwhile Tunisian centre-back Dylan Bronn was sent off in his last international game against Brazil.
Other than that, Camavinga and Tchouameni are once again ones for the referee to watch, this time for the 3.52 and 1.34 fouls they have drawn per 90 for Madrid.
He’ll be looking to take on Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi who managed 3 yellows in 5 World Cup qualifiers, Thomas Delaney (Denmark) on 3 yellows in 7 La Liga appearances, and Aaron Mooy (Australia) who has committed 1.64 fouls per 90 for Celtic.