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Preview: France vs. Serbia

Sports Mole casts its eye forward to Monday's friendly in Bordeaux as Euro 2016 hosts continue their preparation for next year's tournament with a visit from Serbia.

Euro 2016 hosts France continue their preparation for next summer's home tournament with a friendly against Serbia on Monday.

It is the first time Les Bleus have had a chance to play at the brand new Stade Atlantique in Bordeaux.


France

France's forward Mathieu Valbuena celebrates his goal during the Euro 2016 friendly football match Portugal vs France at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on September 4, 2015. © Getty Images

Since their World Cup exit at the quarter-final stage to eventual champions Germany over a year ago, it's been all about preparing perfectly for a first home tournament in 18 years.

Didier Deschamps's side began their string of friendlies with a six-game unbeaten run between September and November last year, but they have lost three out of five this year.

They conceded seven in the two defeats to top-five ranked sides Brazil and Belgium before suffering a surprise defeat in Albania in June.

Les Bleus' have been in action since and they ended a two-game losing streak by beating Portugal thanks to a late Mathieu Valbuena winner in the 85th minute.

Deschamps will hope that the new stadium on the West coast will lift his side's home form - they have ve won just two of their last five friendlies on home turf.

Including this match, France have seven more confirmed friendlies before Euro 2016. In the rest of 2015 they face Armenia and Denmark in October before heavyweight clashes against Germany and England in November.

Recent form: WLWLLW


Serbia

Serbia's striker Zoran Tosic celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the EURO 2016 group I football match between Serbia and Denmark in Belgrade on November 14, 2014© Getty Images

Despite having Premier League regulars like Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Matic, Dusan Tadic and Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia are already unable to reach Euro 2016.

They began Group I with a draw away in Armenia but then suffered four straight defeats, one of which was the abandoned tie with Albania where the visitors were awarded a 3-0 win.

Serbia were also deducted three points by UEFA and that made qualification difficult with Portugal, Denmark and Albania all going well in the group.

Radovan Curcic's got a first win at home to Armenia last night, but because of the points deduction they are only on a solitary point and are now unable to finish in the top three.

So already out of qualifying, but Serbia's form in friendlies is good. They have lost just one of their last nine non-competitive matches and that was a narrow 1-0 defeat to Brazil last summer.

Recent form: LWLWLW


Team News

France's forward Nabil Fekir (L) vies with Portugal's defender Eliseu during the Euro 2016 friendly football match Portugal vs France at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on September 4, 2015.© Getty Images

France's win over Portugal last night was marred by the serious injury suffered by Lyon's Nabil Fekir, who was making his full international debut.

The forward had started the season on fire for his club, scoring four goals in four games to lead the Ligue 1 scoring charts, but he could reportedly now be out for six months with a knee problem.

Didier Deschamps will be forced into at least one change, then, but he is likely to make many more with a squad keen to impress him as next year's tournament edges closer.

Valbuena is a likely starter after coming off the bench to score the winner in Lisbon, while Manchester United new boy Anthony Martial could make his full debut for Les Bleus having won his first cap as a substitute last night.

Curcic could name the same side that started against Armenia, but Tadic will be pushing for a start having come off the bench against Armenia.

France possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Mangala, Evra; Schneiderlin, Matuidi, Pogba; Valbuena, Giroud, Griezmann

Serbia possible starting lineup:
Stojkovic; Tomovic, Ivanovic, Spajic, Kolarov; Brasanac, Matic; Zivkovic, Ljajic, Tadic; Mitrovic


Head To Head

Serbia have never beaten France since the break-up of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, drawing two and losing two of the four contests in the last nine years.

As France are playing the majority of their warm-up friendlies against sides in Group I, they have already faced Serbia since last year's World Cup and Monday will mark exactly a year since the 1-1 draw in Belgrade, when Kolarov scored a late equaliser for the home side.


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We say: France 2-0 Serbia

Despite the crushing loss of in-form Fekir, France still have plenty of squad depth and should have too much for the visitors who have little to play for.


ID:244203:cQx

Who will win Monday's friendly, France or Serbia?

France
Draw
Serbia
France
75.5%
Draw
7.5%
Serbia
17.0%
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France's forward Mathieu Valbuena celebrates his goal during the Euro 2016 friendly football match Portugal vs France at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on September 4, 2015.
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