World Cup fever is creeping desperately close now. The first match is just under two weeks away as the 32 nations step-up preparations for the tournament in Russia.
France take on Italy tonight. A repeat of the World Cup final in 2006 would be fitting for the tournament itself.
However with Italy failing to qualify and firmly in a transition period, France will hope they can fine-tune their exciting attack against the former World Cup winners.
France have won the last two fixtures between the two sides. The most recent coming this time two years ago as the two sides prepared for the European Championships in 2016.
Olivier Giroud scored the winner in an eventual 1-3 win for Les Bleus. Anthony Martial and Layvin Kurzawa added gloss to the score. Former Southampton man Graziano Pelle notched Italy’s consolation.
Didier Deschamps’ men won in Italy again in 2012 as Bafetimbi Gomis scored the second in a 1-2 win. However, it’s the Azzuri who’ve come through victors in the most recent competitive fixtures.
Italy triumphed 2-0 in the Euro 2008 Group C clash as well as the 2006 final in Germany.
Returning to 2018, Roberto Mancini is taking charge of his second game as manager of Italy.
Mancini left his role as Zenit St. Petersburg boss before taking the national team role.
He has quickly drafted Mario Balotelli back into the fold. The 27-year-old former Manchester City forward, scored on his first return to International football since 2014.
Balotelli netted the first goal in a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Lorenzo Insigne has also been restored to the starting XI after being frozen out by previous manager Gian Piero Ventura.
Giroud has equalled Zinedine Zidane’s scoring record for France. The Chelsea striker netted his 31st goal for his country in the 2-0 win over Ireland.
You can get Giroud to score anytime and overtake Zidane out-right at 7/2.
There have been seven goals shared between the sides in the last two meetings. Both teams to score once again is 21/20.
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