France vs Wales preview, betting tips and prediction: Les Bleus to compound Welsh misery after World Cup failure
France to win 3-0
France to win and Kylian Mbappe to score anytime
France to win with a -2 handicap
Wales have an opportunity to show they can still mix it with the big boys despite failing to reach the World Cup finals when they take on France in a friendly this week. Chris Coleman’s side were among Europe’s most exciting teams after reaching the semi finals of Euro 2016, and it is a massive disappointment for them that they will not be in Russia.
There is an element of shock, too. Wales had started with five draws in their first six games in qualification, trailing group winners Serbia throughout the campaign, but they hit form late on and went into their home game against Ireland needing just a point to progress. The defeat was a bitter blow and leaves them with real work to do to reach the Euros again in 2020. It would be very interesting to see just how different things would have been had star man Gareth Bale not struggled with a serious ankle problem for the last few games.
As always, France will be expected to shine at the World Cup and they should prove too much in this one, too. Kylian Mbappe has made a great start to his PSG career and this game could kickstart his international fortunes too.
It wasn’t a completely straight forward qualification campaign for France, but they did only lose once in ten games. Drawing 0-0 at home to minnows Luxembourg was a particularly poor result and just showed that even when one team is worlds apart from their opponent, if they fail to perform the result is not guaranteed and cannot be taken as if it is.
Wales looked for all the world as if they would qualify for the World Cup after winning three games on the bounce. Staggeringly, they only lost one game in the entire campaign, but it came at the worst time in a crunch winner takes all clash against the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on the final day. Yet their total of 17 points, two behind Martin O’Neill’s side would not have been enough in any European group.
The obvious major news for Wales is the continued absence of Real Madrid star Bale. He has missed some crucial games for Los Blancos, including two against former club Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, as he continues his recovery from a niggling ankle problem. Wales have begun to show they are more than just a one-man team. Tom Bradshaw, the Barnsley striker, has replaced him in the squad, but Chris Coleman will be without Jonny Williams, who was forced to withdraw, and Hal Robson-Kanu.
France have an unbelievable array of talent at their disposal, and Didier Deschamps could call on any one of them in Paris. Alexandre Lacazette has been in excellent form since joining Arsenal, but it is Mbappe whom we are backing to make the biggest impact in this one.