Third favourites for glory
** CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL **
Real Madrid vs Liverpool - 40/1 - A yellow card to be shown!
France have won the World Cup once before, but that spare came on home ground when claiming their own tournament back in 1998. It has been a painful wait for their support who know the nation is capable of better.
Les Bleus hammered Brazil 3-0 at the Stade de France to write their names into history, goals from Petit and a Zidane double stealing the show. Will we see them rediscover former glories?
Bookmakers have France as third favourites to repeat the feat in Russia and there’s 13/2 in places on them doubling up two decades later. They made light work of qualifying Group A, winning seven of 10 starts – including each of their last two – scoring 18 goals in the process. As ever, they’re a match for anyone going forward and that attack will light up the competition.
Can they live up to expectations in 2018? They certainly have the individual talent to go close, but their big-name players must perform from game one to give them any chance.
Here’s three men to look out for in Russia wearing blue…..
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Plenty of options in attack
The Atletico Madrid star has a busy summer ahead and when he’s finished firing his country to World Cup success the striker will turn his attentions to securing his club future with a number of major teams across Europe rumoured to be interested in grabbing his signature including Barcelona and Chelsea.
He’s 16/1 at Ladbrokes to finish as the tournament’s top goal scorer with each-way terms of 1/4 the odds 1-2-3-4. We make him a guaranteed starter in games and with his teammates doing their bit to help and going deep into the competition it looks a bet worth serious consideration.
France has no lack of support for Griezmann up front, but they must decide who is the best man to work alongside him. We think they’ll go for youth and call on the services of the fearless Mbappe who will be eager to hit the ground running and boost his stock further on the big stage.
At 19 the Parisian lacks plenty in experience but he’s an exciting forward who scores goals – that’s his job. 40/1 (Ladbrokes) to win the golden boot. Will face competition from the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Thomas Lemar, Anthony Martial and Olivier Giroud but that will keep him on his toes.
Will Pogba be given a chance to put a poor season at Manchester United behind him? He was dropped to the bench in recent friendlies due to his ‘complicated situation’ in England but did score in a warm-up vs Columbia and will see this as the ideal chance to earn a move away from Old Trafford.
If the 25-year-old is handed a starting slot on match day one it’ll be up to him to make it impossible to be replaced. An important player for France. It’s now on the side to sort things out at the other end of the park with their defence still looking fragile.