France vs Italy preview, betting tips and prediction

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Les Bleus continue their preparations for the World Cup this summer

France to win with a -1 handicap @ 2/1 with Coral

On Monday evening, Olivier Giroud equalled the legendary Zinedine Zidane’s goals tally of 31 international goals in the victory over the Republic of Ireland. The Chelsea striker has never been fully appreciated, even though the statistics are mightily impressive; he is now France’s joint-fourth all time top goalscorer, and he will be looking to make that record his own when he faces Italy on Friday night. Roberto Mancini recently replaced Gian Piero Ventura as the manager of Italy, after the latter failed to secure a place at this summer’s World Cup, resulting in his sacking. His first game, also on Monday, was against Saudi Arabia; the returning Mario Balotelli scored in the 2-1 victory, but both he and his manager will find it a lot tougher against one of the favourites for glory in Russia this summer.

France have got the deepest squad in the world in terms of quality, and that will once again be on show on Friday. Lyon star Nabil Fekir, who has been heavily linked with a switch to Liverpool this summer, starred in the Ireland game, yet he is not expected to feature much at the World Cup itself. Star man Antoine Griezmann came off the bench and is likely to start. We think France will win as they step preparations for their campaign over the next few weeks.

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Balotelli is a man worth backing in the goalscoring markets, and can be found at 2/1 to score anytime. The Nice striker has really found his best form in Ligue 1, but is available on a free transfer this summer; a return to Italy looks more likely, but the former Manchester City striker will have one last point to prove to the country he has played in for the last two years. Giroud cannot be ruled out for France, and he is priced at 7/5 to score anytime.

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