Uruguay V France Preview: Friday, 11th June (Group A)

8th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

 

Uruguay V France

Kick-off: Friday, 11th June – 19:30 GMT
Stadium: Green Point Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)
Group A

 

In Germany back in 2006, France were losing finalists as they were defeated by Italy via a penalty shoot-out. This coming four years after France were humiliated in Korea/Japan in 2002 when finishing bottom of Group A, failing to win any of their three group clashes. Uruguay, the country they will face on Friday night in their 2010 World Cup opener, were the only team France took points off back then, conjuring a lousy 0-0 draw. Eight years after their drab 0-0 affair in Busan, South Korea, and the pair will do battle all over again, in ironically the same Group A only this time they’ll be accompanied by hosts South Africa and Mexico.

 

Uruguay

Turn back the clock a little over half-a-century and you’ll find a Uruguay team enjoying their triumph in the finals of the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. Another 20 years back and we have the very first World Cup finals hosted by Uruguay, won by Uruguay. La Celesta as they’re sometimes known, were a powerhouse in world football back in the day, way back in the day mind, whereas now they are merely perceived as minnows when it comes to major finals, an easy three points to come teams. At South Africa 2010, coach Oscar Tabarez will look to overhaul to general perception of the Uruguay national team by masterminding their progression through the group stage for the first time since 1990.

Speaking of the Uruguay coach, Oscar Tabarez claims he is sending his players onto the field to beat France on Friday, although the minimum he expects his players to walk away with is a point against a team many believe are out-of-sorts and prime for the taking at this moment in time. Perhaps there is truth in that theory, but Tabarez is showing no signs of arrogance nor has he shown a lack of respect towards a nation with a big international reputation, and a team which arrive in South Africa as the 2006 World Cup’s runners-up. "The aim is to beat France, with all the respect we have for them and how difficult we know it will be, said Tabarez ahead of Uruguay’s clash with the ’98 World Cup winners.

We have our own criticism over how Uruguay prepared for the finals, with their 4-1 victory over Israel in Montevideo, Uruguay, their only pre-World Cup warm up game. From a team which were inconsistent throughout qualifying, fortunate in some aspects even to be here in South Africa, we were surprised to see Tabarez opting instead to keep his players fresh rather than to fine-tune the teams overall game, which, in truth, is based around their clinical striking duo of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez. They proved too good for Israel at the end of last month, but Uruguay will quickly find out that the teams that await them in Group A will be more than a match for them and, in our honest opinion, they’ll do remarkably well to escape this difficult group unscathed.

Uruguay needed a second life in order to make the 2010 finals in South Africa, beating Costa Rica in the North America/South America play-off clash. The South Americans came out victorious, although only by the odd goal, as they clinched a South Africa berth by virtue of a 2-1 aggregate win. In qualifying though, Uruguay relied heavily upon the goals of Atletico Madrid forward Diego Forlan, who recently bagged a UEFA Europa League medal after his two goal haul in the final against Fulham. Forlan, despite playing just 13 of Uruguay’s 18 qualifiers, finished as their top goalscorer with 8 goals and you get the impression they’ll need an equally impressive goal return from their blonde haired goal-getter in South Africa if they’re to remain competitive in Group A.

 

France

France a nation on the rocks in regards to international football, wavering since their humilating display at EURO 2008 in Austria/Switzerland were they left through the EURO back doors after finishing bottom of their group – The second occasion where France had finished bottom of their group in a major tournament this side of the millennium. Their tag of being the runners-up in the previous World Cup should stand them in high regard, at least from a betting perspective, but France have been almost a ghost in the betting markets and it’s not too difficult to see why.

Before the finals, France prepared for some tricky games in South Africa by contesting friendlies with Costa Rica, Tunisia and China – Teams which failed to qualify for South Africa 2010. On paper, certainly after looking through the French team, they should have been three straightforward warm up games for France. In typical France fashion however, a 2-1 win over North American Costa Rica was all they could conjure, as they failed to overpower lowly Tunisia (1-1) and were embarrassed once more as China despatched of Raymond Domenech’s men in a shock 1-0 win. Their performances in all three were unconvincing and displayed the characteristics of a team drained in any self-belief or confidence. This was later confirmed by winger Sidney Govou, who claimed the France team ‘have problems’. Tell us about it!

Quite how France are struggling so badly is a puzzle in itself, as there’s little doubt Domenech, who has come under heavy fire throughout his French tenure, has genuine quality, and lots of it, at his disposal. Between the sticks they have one of the brightest goalkeeping talents on the scene in Hugo Llroris of Lyon. In defence they have two energetic full-backs in Patrice Evra and Bacary Sagna, both of which will be a nuisance to keep tabs on as they look to bomb forward and deliver balls in from deep. In midfield they have a player who we believe could set the finals alight in Bordeaux’s Yoann Gourcuff. The former AC Milan play-maker was instrumental in helping Bordeaux to the French Ligue 1 title back in 2008/2009 and in his two seasons in Ligue 1 has scored 24 goals. Moreover, in the same period, Gourcuff racked up 25 assists and because he doesn’t play such a prominent role for France in an attacking sense, it will be his creative qualities which will interest Domenech and hopefully assist France to at least a top two finish.

Our biggest concern with France lye’s in their forwards, with Domenech lacking an out-an-out striker of world-class standard. Thierry Henry was deprived of first team appearances at Barcelona last season and has suffered mentally as a result, while Nicolas Anelka, despite a successful campaign with Chelsea last season, has never been prolific enough at international level, with his sluggish and lethargic attitude often criticised by the French media. In qualifying, Domenech did take a chance on bulky Toulouse forward Andre-Pierre Gignac, who returned the favour with four goals although none were against noteworthy opposition. Since the turn of the year, France have found the net just three times, two of those coming against Costa Rica, while back in March they were despatched without too much of a fuss by Spain 2-0.

With morale low and confidence in short supply, France simply have to get off to the best possible start on Friday, as anything less than a victory to rouse the troops could lead to further deflated players in the France camp, which would then lead to assumptions that France could once again finish bottom of the group if they’re not careful. France lost their opening game of the 200 finals to Senegal. They cannot afford to do the same.

 

Match Odds:

Uruguay – 4.00 SkyBet
Draw – 3.30 Boylesports
France – 2.15 BetFred

 

Our Prediction: France to WIN – 2.15 BetFred

Uruguay will remain a threat when they attack simply because they have two of the most prolific strikers in world football, with Forlan finishing the 2009-2010 season with 28 goals and Suarez a staggering 49 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions. The latter, though, plies his trade in the Dutch Eredivisie, and so, his prolific scoring antics can’t really be taken into consideration too strongly. Suarez is a talented individual mind, but you would fancy a wise and battle-hardened William Gallas to get the better of the Ajax forward.

France are going through a difficult spell right now, leading right back to their miserable appearance at the EURO’s in 2008. There’s a distinct lack of cohesion in their play, while their lack of composure and the presence of a world-class striker has led to them putting in some bizarre displays and recording some embarrassing results. Even so, they’re a team full to the brim with world-class players it could only be a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ France click and come back into the sort of form which seen them progress all the way into the final of Germany 2006.

Our Recommended Bet: France to WIN by 1 Goal – 3.60 PaddyPower



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




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