International Friendly: France V Costa Rica – Wednesday, 26th May

25th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

 

France V Costa Rica

Wednesday 26th May, 20:00 GMT
International Friendly

 

France coach Raymond Domenech will have his first chance to assess the 24 players still standing in a French provisional squad which was originally 30-strong, as Les Bleus entertain La Sele in Lens on Wednesday in a match which promises French lovers a glimpse at two of their stars. William Gallas ended the Barclay’s Premier League season in England with Arsenal on the sidelines after aggravating a calf injury just weeks before the end of the campaign while Thierry Henry, the all-time leading French goalscorer, will also start against the Costa Ricans.

Every single France supporter will fondly remember the fruitful year of 1998 when the then-hosts secured their first World Cup crown. It was a momentous occasion for Les Bleus, beating one of this years favourites Brazil in the final by a 3-0 scoreline. However, France, under Didier Deschamps as coach, failed miserably in their attempt to defend their crown in Korea/Japan in 2002 but came so close to doubling their tally at Germany 2006 only to lose to Italy in the final on penalties. While some will focus on their ’98 triumph, it’s the bitter final loss four years ago which still haunts those involved that night, William Gallas and Thierry Henry included.

After a miserable campaign at the 2008 UEFA European Championships, failing to even make the knock-outs, France will be pinning their hopes on a more fruitful summer in South Africa. They are, though, a team under immense pressure from both their expectant fans back home and the media, with Domenech especially receiving large portions of criticism. The latter will leave his post after the finals, while South Africa presents the great Thierry Henry with his final chance to shine in the finals of a World Cup, Both are equally important to France’s chances this summer, with Domenech’s managerial experience and nous, but it’s the form of Henry which is concerning folk back home. The current Barcelona winger has fallen out of favour with Catalan coach Pep Guardiola, with Henry spending many of the final games of the season on the bench. It means Henry doesn’t have a lot of competitive minutes under his belt while his confidence levels must be at an all-time low right now. Considering he’s the captain, the supposed inspirational leader and shining example to everyone, that’s a massive negative and a factor every punter should take into consideration when preparing a bet for France.

Wednesday’s friendly encounter with Costa Rica provides the entire France team, one which limped through qualification, with the opportunity to find some form, to re-establish some, as Henry might say, ‘Va-Va-Voom’. Their humiliating exit at the group stage of the 2008 Euro’s will have hurt their pride while a lacklustre qualifying campaign for the finals in South Africa didn’t help their cause, either. So Domenech is having to rejuvenate some lost souls, rebuild his squad in many respects, having little choice but to caress some damaged ego’s. And while a game with Costa Rica is hardly going to test the team to it’s capacity, it does at least give the entire squad a fabulous opportunity to regain some footing, some form and some crucial momentum ahead of what the French will hope is another exciting World Cup despite a turbulent few years at international level.

While both Thierry Henry and William Gallas are expected to start against Costa Rica, Lassana Diarra won’t play ant part whatsoever after he was ruled out of the tournament altogether with an ‘intestinal problem’. In goal, young Lyon shot-stopped Hugo Lloris should continue wearing the No.1 jersey, while up front there will be a tussle between Pierre Gignac and Djibril Cisse for the role of first-choice striking substitute behind the two regular starters of Henry and Anelka. Franck Ribery, who missed the Champions League final last Saturday, should start on the left while there is no Patrick Viera or Karim Benzema after both were omitted from Domenech’s provisional team.

 

Match Odds:

France – 1.30 Bet365
Draw – 5.00 Coral
Costa Rica – 11.00 WilliamHill

 

Our Prediction: France to WIN – 1.30 Bet365

Costa Rica are certainly no mugs at this level, almost qualifying for South Africa along with the USA and Mexico in the CONCAFAF qualifying zone were it not for a late USA goal which sent Honduras to the finals in their place. Instead, they had to battle it out in a two-legged play-off with Uruguay, of which they lost 2-1 on aggregate. While familiar names are few and far between in their team, La Sele are a nifty outfit and are a nation which shouldn’t be underestimated. Nevertheless, a home win for France should be the only realistic results here as the French step up their 2010 FIFA World Cup preparations ahead of two more friendlies with Tunisia and China.

I’m sure the French watchers, as well as those neutrals weighing up a bet on France to win next month’s competition outright at attractive odds, will want an impressive performance from Les Bleus but we’re envisaging a routine win rather than overwhelming.

Our Recommendation: France to WIN to NIL – 1.83 SkyBet



The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+




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