MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 11:30:29| >> :600:951604:951604:
Jun 8, 2021 at 8.10pm UK
Griezmann (29'), Giroud (83', 90')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Despodov (48')

Preview: France vs. Bulgaria - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's International Friendlies clash between France and Bulgaria, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

France finalise their preparations for Euro 2020 on Tuesday when they welcome Bulgaria to the Stade de France for a friendly encounter.

Les Bleus eased past 10-man Wales 3-0 in their most recent battle, while Bulgaria's misfortune on the road continued with a 1-0 defeat to Russia last time out.

Match preview

France coach Didier Deschamps pictured on March 24, 2021© Reuters

Despite Daniel James's admission that France urged referee Luis Godinho not to send Neco Williams off for a deliberate handball in the area, Wales were ultimately a man down after 26 minutes against the world champions, although Danny Ward produced a fine save to keep out Karim Benzema's spot kick.

However, Didier Deschamps's side did go a goal to the good before half time as Kylian Mbappe was on hand to tap home from Adrien Rabiot's parried effort, and further strikes from Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele in the second period ultimately saw France to a routine victory.

Wales did have their moments, though - even after Williams's controversial red card and subsequent fallout after the game - but Deschamps has now overseen three consecutive victories and clean sheets with the world champions ahead of Euro 2020.

Furthermore, Les Bleus' ranks have been bolstered by the returns of Kurt Zouma, Olivier Giroud and N'Golo Kante following their triumphant exploits in the Champions League - with each member of the trio receiving a warm welcome upon arrival into camp - and a six-day break in between matches is just what the doctor ordered for France.

France's home record is far from perfect - with two wins from their last five on familiar territory - but looking ahead to the Euros group of death with Germany, Portugal and Hungary means that Deschamps's side have all the motivation they need to sweep aside a dispirited Bulgaria.

Bulgaria coach Yasen Petrov pictured on June 5, 2021© Reuters

It has been over two-and-a-half years since Bulgaria last managed to win away from home, and while the absence of full stadiums and raucous crowds has seemingly wiped out the home advantage phenomenon, Yasen Petrov's side could not break that duck against Russia.

Bulgaria held their own for 84 minutes on Saturday evening, but substitute Aleksandr Sobolev won the game from the spot in the 84th minute to undo all of the Lions' hard work and extend their winless run across all competitions to seven matches.

After their Euro 2020 qualification period ended in abject failure, Bulgaria have hardly started their bid to make the 2022 World Cup finals in better fashion, taking one point from their opening three games as they somehow attempt to build momentum before September's return to international action.

However, the Lions have only managed to claim one win from their 14 matches in all competitions since the start of 2020 - a 3-0 success over Gibraltar in a friendly - and Petrov's crop must produce the performances of their lives if they are to claim the shock win of all shock wins against the world champions.

Bulgaria managed to beat France three times on the bounce between 1985 and 1993, but Les Bleus have since claimed three successive wins of their own in this fixture, most recently prevailing 1-0 during qualification for the 2018 World Cup thanks to a third-minute strike from the forgotten man Blaise Matuidi.

France International Friendlies form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

France form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Bulgaria International Friendlies form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Bulgaria form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Team News

France's Ousmane Dembele celebrates scoring against Wales on June 2, 2021© Reuters

Deschamps made a statement of intent with his strong team selection in last week's friendly battle with Wales, and the Bleus boss may elect to do the same here given their extended break between matches.

Kante's return to the fold could see him displace Corentin Tolisso in the middle of the park, though, while Giroud is a candidate to start up top over Benzema as he closes in on Thierry Henry's goalscoring record.

Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez were both withdrawn at half time against Wales and the latter is supposedly doubtful with a knee issue, but Dembele's late strike against the Dragons is unlikely to see him rewarded with a start.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria lost midfielder Kristiyan Malinov to injury after just nine minutes against Russia, so Petar Vitanov should fill the hole left in the engine room.

Atanas Iliev and Bozhidar Kraev can both be hopeful of returning to the first XI against the world champions, while Birsent Karagaren could make way for Ivan Turitsov in a more defensively-minded setup.

France possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Digne; Kante, Pogba, Rabiot; Griezmann; Mbappe, Giroud

Bulgaria possible starting lineup:
Mihaylov; A. Hristov, Bozhikov, Antov; Turitsov, Chochev, Vitanov, Tsvetanov; Despodov, Kraev; Iliev

SM words green background

We say: France 4-0 Bulgaria

Bulgaria are not the easiest team in Europe to break down, but their toothless attack will hinder any chances of them springing a surprise against Deschamps's Euro 2020 favourites.

With their ranks now bolstered by the returns of the Champions League-winning crop - as well as nearly a full week's worth of rest in between matches - France should have no problem easing to a straightforward success.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw:data

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Great BritainGreat Britain891128
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Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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