MX23RW : Wednesday, September 29 02:23:24| >> :600:1845484:1845484:
Jun 2, 2021 at 8.05pm UK at Allianz Riviera
Mbappe (35'), Griezmann (48'), Dembele (79')
Varane (76')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Moore (90+2')
Williams (26')

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

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

France and Wales kick off their Euro 2020 preparations on Wednesday when they go head-to-head in a friendly battle at Nice's Allianz Riviera.

Les Bleus finished top of qualifying Group H to book their tickets at this summer's tournament, while Wales took second spot in Group E to qualify for the second time in a row.

Match preview

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

Still basking in the glory of their 2018 World Cup triumph, Didier Deschamps's France now switch their focus to the continental stage, as they endeavour to follow up their domination in Russia with a long-awaited success in the European Championship.

A surprise 2-0 defeat to Turkey and following 1-1 draw with the Crescent-Stars represented the only blips of their Euros qualification period, as France won their other eight games to seal top spot and a place at the Euros for the eighth time in a row, where they will be partaking in the infamous group of death.

Indeed, one of France, Germany and reigning champions Portugal will miss out on a top-two spot in the group and hope to seal a path to the knockout stages via a strong third-placed ranking, but early favourites France are not expected to go down that route as they bid to avenge their defeat in the 2016 final.

Deschamps's side welcome Bulgaria to their headquarters in their final warm-up match for the Euros after Wales pay a visit, and their exploits in 2020 were impressive, as Les Bleus sealed a spot in the Nations League finals before taking seven points from their first three games of World Cup qualification.

France's most recent friendly encounter was one to forget as they let a rejuvenated Finland secure a 2-0 win at the Stade de France last November, but they put seven past Ukraine in an exhibition match one month before that and prepare to meet a Wales side bedevilled by issues off the field.

Wales assistant manager Robert Page pictured on November 15, 2020© Reuters

As Wales manager Ryan Giggs prepares to stand trial following allegations of assault, the team led by Robert Page will somehow attempt to emulate the success of the 2016 luminaries, who steered the Dragons to the semi-finals of the Euros in their first-ever appearance in the tournament.

Eventual winners Portugal were the ones to break Welsh hearts after Belgium had fallen victim to the Dragons' superiority, and with the likes of Chris Gunter, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey still reliving their roles in that memorable summer five years ago, the stage is set for another display of Welsh wizardry.

Wales got off to a slow start in their Euros qualifying group - losing two of their opening three games - but they navigated their last five unbeaten to seal second spot in the group, and they have been rewarded with challenging fixtures against Italy, Switzerland and Turkey in Group A.

Like their midweek opponents France, the Dragons also enjoyed a stellar Nations League campaign as they secured promotion to League A, but they suffered mixed fortunes in their opening two games of World Cup qualification, losing 3-1 to Belgium before a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.

Wales's only victory in five meetings with France came in a friendly encounter all the way back in 1982, and the most recent battle saw Les Bleus run out 2-0 winners in 2017 thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann.

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

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

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

Wales form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema pictured in August 2020© Reuters

The big news from the France camp is the inclusion of Karim Benzema after a five-year absence from the national team, and the veteran has a good chance of featuring this week with Kylian Mbappe and Griezmann likely to be kept in reserve.

There is no space in the squad for Tottenham Hotspur's Tanguy Ndombele, though, while Lille title-winner Mike Maignan is preferred to ex-Fulham loanee Alphonse Areola.

With Deschamps unlikely to risk his biggest names before the tournament kicks off, the stage could be set for Maignan, Wissam Ben Yedder and maybe even the uncapped Jules Kounde to impress.

Meanwhile, Wales manager Page will want to select an XI capable of going toe-to-toe with the world champions, as Bale, Harry Wilson and Kieffer Moore all eye spots in the final third.

Uncapped Cardiff City teenager Rubin Colwill has been called up for the Euros, but Tom Lawrence and 2016 hero Hal Robson-Kanu will not feature at the tournament.

Tom Lockyer, meanwhile, is a late addition to the squad following James Lawrence's withdrawal, but the defender is another one who has spent plenty of time on the sidelines.

Page may opt against risking Ben Davies or Ethan Ampadu for this encounter given their injury problems towards the end of the Premier League season, and the Wales manager has also urged caution over Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen as they build up their fitness.

France possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Dubois, Kounde, Lenglet, Digne; Rabiot, Sissoko; Dembele, Griezmann, Lemar; Benzema

Wales possible starting lineup:
Ward; Rodon, Cabango, Mepham; Gunter, Smith, Morrell, Williams; Bale, Moore, James

SM words green background

We say: France 3-1 Wales

A monumental shock against the world champions would certainly set tongues wagging in Wales before the Euros kicks off, but such a result may be a little too optimistic, even against a weakened Bleus outfit.

Deschamps may elect to shuffle the pack and give fringe players the opportunity to impress, but their ridiculous wealth of attacking talent should see them kick off preparations for the summer with a convincing win here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:curl

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West Bromwich Albion striker Hal Robson-Kanu pictured in September 2020
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West Brom's Hal Robson-Kanu absent from Wales camp
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