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In the aftermath of tragic events in Paris, the football match between England and France will go ahead at Wembley on Tuesday night. Despite the reported offer of leave for the entire French squad, none of the players elected to withdraw from the game, and both countries FA’s have spoken of their desire to go ahead with the fixture. It will be a poignant occasion for sure, and one in which the football will take second stage, but it is a show of international solidarity between two nations.
We will try to focus on the football in what is an important game for both sets of players as they prepare for Euro 2016, as we look at the betting markets for what, on any other occasion, would be a much-anticipated game.
England v France
Wembley, Tuesday 17th November, 20:00 GMT
Both teams played high profile friendlies on Friday night, with England losing 2-0 to Spain, and France beating Germany by the same scoreline. The result and performance in Spain brought England crashing back down to earth after an unbeaten run of 16 games and a qualifying campaign which saw them win 10 out of 10. The English players were content to sit back while Spain dazzled them with intricate passing and movement, but at times the Three Lions looked overawed rather than organised.
Gary Cahill has said that his side weren’t outclassed in Spain, but the evidence is against him. Spain dominated the ball with 64% possession, and although both goals came after the 70-minute mark, Cahill’s assessment that the Spanish were ‘flattered’ by the result looks a bit wide of the mark. Nonetheless it was a very good test for the young England squad, and it demonstrates the level they will need to reach if they want to make an impact in next year’s Euro’s. This game will provide another huge test, against a French team that are starting to look like a top class side again.
France pressed their credentials for their own tournament next summer, with a 2-0 win over Germany on Friday night, with Arsenal’s Oliver Giroud getting on the scoresheet after good approach play by Manchester United’s Anthony Martial. It was a measure of revenge for the French after their World Cup quarter-final defeat to Germany last year, and they were full value for the win. With the likes of Pogba, Martial and Griezmann, France have some real attacking talent, and players of the quality of Cabaye, Sissoko and Schneiderlin could only make the bench on Friday night.
It’s now five wins out of five for Les Blues, and they have the class to push England very hard at Wembley on Tuesday. The Three Lions will look to both their recent form and their home form for confidence ahead of the clash. They were unbeaten in 16 matches before playing Spain, who are starting to look much more like themselves after the dismal World Cup they endured in Brazil last year. England have also won their last six matches at Wembley on the spin, and you have to look back as far as November 2013 for the last time they were defeated at home, when they suffered back-to-back losses against Chile and Germany.
France are no slouches away from home either though, and they’ve won three of their last four on the road. The 1-0 away defeat in Albania which punctuates those victories is a reminder that they are not unbeatable though, and that will give England plenty of confidence.
Both teams to score looks the best way to go in what might be quite an open game, at +110 with William Hill
Both teams have found the net in four of the last five meeting between the two, and both have potent goal threats. Wayne Rooney sat on the bench for most of the match against Spain, only coming on for the last 15 minutes, and he is expected to be restored to the starting line-up in what should be a slightly more attacking outlook.
Michael Carrick will definitely miss out having been stretchered off in the closing minutes in Spain, and Manchester United teammate Jesse Lingard has been called up to replace him. With all the injuries, it’s possible that Lingard will receive some pitch time, but it will be good experience for the youngster regardless. John Stones may feel entitled to a run out, as will Gary Cahill, with both left on the bench and the pairing of Jones and Smalling preferred on Friday. Leicester striker Jamie Vardy also misses out after suffering a knock in the Premier League game against Watford.
France are still without Benzema and Valbuena after their recent controversies, but otherwise travel with the same squad that beat the World Champions just a few days ago. Whoever England select as a centre-back pairing, they will find it very difficult to keep out the French for 90 minutes, but by the same token England can be expected to press for a result – particularly at home.
After breaking the record to become England’s top goalscorer ever, Rooney has his sights firmly set on leading his country out in the Euro’s in France next year. It may be his last opportunity to play for his country in an international tournament, and despite issues with form at Manchester United, he has been producing the goods for England this season.
England v France: Both Teams to Score
Tuesday 17th November, 20:00 GMT
England v France: Wayne Rooney to score at anytime
Tuesday 17th November, 20:00 GMT
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