France entertain Wales in Friday’s international friendly at the Stade de France. Both teams had contrasting fortunes during the World Cup qualifiers with France progressing directly for next summer’s tournament whilst Wales faced a heartbreak in the final group stage game, where they were ousted by the Republic of Ireland.
The nations have not faced each other since June 1982 where Liverpool legend Ian Rush scored the only goal of the game for Wales in the 55th minute. The victory in Toulouse remains Wales’ only triumph in four attempts versus Les Bleus.
Players to watch for:
Anthony Martial – France: France are blessed with plenty of attack talent in their ranks, and Martial is one of those who made a long-awaited comeback. The 21-year-old has earned his first call-up in 12 months following his impressive scoring streak for Manchester United from the bench. Martial has shown decent improvement under Jose Mourinho this term, and his ability to cut across from the left-wing has caused problems to the best of defenders in the top-flight. Wales tend to play with a three-man defence, and this could play into the hands of Martial, who will get space to work on the wings.
Aaron Ramsey – Wales: Ramsey is likely to be hurt the most by Wales’ failure to progress to the World Cup playoffs. The Welshman played a key role alongside Gareth Bale in the qualification phase, but he received a bout of criticism after he failed to show up when it mattered the most. The Arsenal playmaker was hugely disappointing in the 1-0 defeat to the Republic earlier last month, and he will be determined to put in a strong showing against France, who are one of the favourites for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. Ramsey is likely to take up his regular position, just behind the main striker.
France suffered a shocking 0-0 draw versus Luxembourg in September, but the fans can rest assured that there won’t make a repeat anytime soon. The hosts could be fancied to win comfortably.
France 3-0 Wales
Image – Getty