France v Romania - Friday June 10
Saint Denis, Live on ITV, 8pm
France have failed badly in their last three major tournaments – lackluster in World Cup 2014, disappointing in Euro 2012 and downright embarrassing in World Cup 2010 when they arrived in South Africa after a shocking Euro 2008 campaign.
Expectation for these European Championships is high however and France go into the tournament as narrow favourites. Home advantage is expected to help Didier Deschamps’ men as it did in 1998 when the French won the World Cup on home soil.
Euro 2016 is only the second occasion since the year 2000 that Romania have qualified for a major tournament, and they secured their place in France by virtue of finishing second in Group F and qualifying along with group winners Northern Ireland and play-off winners Hungary.
In the group stages, they were unbeaten winning 5 matches and drawing 5 more, scoring 11 goals, conceding 2 and ending up with a +9 goal difference.
Having qualified automatically as hosts, it is slightly tricky to get a real sense for how competitive France will be in these finals. They’ve been playing nothing but friendlies for the last two years, although clearly their side is absolutely peppered with world class talents such as Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, Anthony Martial and Antoine Griezmann.
In the friendlies they’ve played over the Euro qualification period, France had the leakiest defence of any of the 24 sides at the finals – although they did tend to play tougher opponents in friendlies than most qualifiers, who had a few minnows to batter. Even so, it’s a worrying trait to have picked up and few sides are capable of becoming defensively solid overnight.
In Romania, they are up against the side with the best defensive record at the Euros, having conceded at the lowest rate in qualification: just 2 goals in 10 matches (0.2 goals per game). However, they only scored 11 times themselves – only Albania were less frisky in front of goal. Romania were the only team not to concede a single goal during the first half of their qualification matches, so all signs are pointing towards them being a tough side to break down.
It would be a big, big surprise if this game ended up as a high-scoring classic, it seems far more likely to be a cagey, low scoring affair.
- France to win 1-0 @
- Half time draw, France full time @
- Under 1.5 goals @
- View the full match betting market here!
Qualification Data widget: