MX23RW : Tuesday, December 15 15:53:29| >> :120:80433:80433:
Nov 11, 2020 at 8.10pm UK at Stade de France
FranceFrance
0-2
FinlandFinland
FT(HT: 0-2)
Forss (28'), Valakari (31')

Preview: France vs. Finland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's international friendly clash between France and Finland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

France must navigate a friendly showdown with Finland on Wednesday before the World Cup champions take on Portugal and Sweden in two crucial Nations League matches in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Finland will also have their competitive games in mind as they bid to pip Wales to top spot in Group B4 and earn promotion to League A.


Match preview

France's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring against Ukraine in an international friendly on October 7, 2020© Reuters

A Nations League group which includes both the World and European champions has been as competitive as one would expect. France and Portugal have both amassed 10 points from 12 matches, but Didier Deschamps's side sit below their rivals on goal difference heading into the final round of group fixtures.

France take on the European and Nations League champions this weekend, with the winner of that tie - if there is one - almost certain to progress to the finals, and Portugal will prepare for that pivotal encounter with a friendly against Andorra in midweek.

France's clash with Finland represents a much tougher showdown for Les Bleus, but Deschamps's men have gone their last 12 games unbeaten in all competitions - winning 10 of them - with their most recent exhibition match ending in a 7-1 triumph over Ukraine last month.

There was nothing to separate France and Portugal in October's Nations League bout as the two European giants played out a goalless stalemate, but France once again came out on top against Croatia two years on from the 2018 World Cup final, with Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe netting either side of a Nikola Vlasic equaliser in a 2-1 victory in France's last game.

Deschamps is expected to name a much-changed lineup for the clash with Finland, however, as the France manager looks to keep his big names in pristine condition before Saturday's critical game with Portugal.

Finland boss Markku Kanerva pictured on June 11, 2019© Reuters

Finland will also not be taking any unnecessary risks due to their position in Nations League Group B4, with the Nordic nation sitting second in the group - one point behind current leaders Wales with two games to go.

Markku Kanerva's men fell to defeat against Wales in their inaugural game of the 2020-21 tournament, but Finland have since triumphed three times on the bounce, including 2-0 and 1-0 victories in October against Bulgaria and the Republic of Ireland respectively.

Promotion to League A is very much on the cards for Kanerva's side, who face Bulgaria on Sunday and Wales next Wednesday, but Finland already have their path to next year's European Championships secured and can afford to throw caution to the wind in their midweek friendly with world champions France.

Huuhkajat have only suffered two defeats in their last eight friendly matches, although one of those defeats was a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Poland last month, and France have a 100% record against their midweek opponents in the eight meetings between the two sides - who last locked horns back in 2013.

France International Friendlies form: WDDWWW
France form (all competitions): WWWWDW

Finland International Friendlies form: WDWLWL
Finland form (all competitions): LLWLWW


Team News

France's Kylian Mbappe in action against Sweden in the UEFA Nations League on September 5, 2020© Reuters

Mbappe has been included in the France squad despite his recent injury woes - a call which left Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel scratching his head - but the 21-year-old is highly unlikely to be involved in Wednesday's friendly.

Nabil Fekir has been forced to withdraw from the squad with a hamstring problem, with the Real Betis man initially being replaced by Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, but the 22-year-old has also had to pull out with a thigh injury.

Deschamps is sure to hand starts to some fringe players in this week's friendly, with the likes of Kurt Zouma and Marcus Thuram - the latter of whom has earned his first call-up - all vying for places in the first XI.

However, the highly-rated duo of Dayot Upamecano and Eduardo Camavinga, who both started the last friendly against Ukraine, have been left out due to injury, although Benjamin Pavard is included despite missing the Klassiker victory over Borussia Dortmund at the weekend.

Finland are also likely to hand starts to a number of up-and-coming players included in the squad, with Brentford man Marcus Forss eyeing his first cap - as is fellow 21-year-old Onni Valakari.

Frederik Jensen's goals propelled Finland to victories over Bulgaria and Ireland last month, but the Augsburg man is not included in this month's squad due to an ankle injury.

Teemu Pukki is eight strikes away from becoming Finland's all-time leading goalscorer, but the Norwich forward has now gone five games without a goal for the national team.

France possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Dubois, Zouma, Lenglet, Digne; Sissoko, Nzonzi, Rabiot; Thuram, Giroud, Ben Yedder

Finland possible starting lineup:
Joronen; Alho, Vaisanen, Toivio, O'Shaughnessy, Pirinen; Schuller, Sparv, Valakari; Pukki, Pohjanpalo


SM words green background

We say: France 3-1 Finland

Neither France nor Finland are expected to be putting out full-strength lineups for this friendly bout given the importance of their upcoming Nations League matches, and the visitors will feel confident of getting on the scoresheet with Les Bleus having to manage a couple of injury problems in defence. However, Deschamps's men should have too much quality for Finland and we are backing the World champions to march to victory in convincing fashion on Wednesday.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

ID:421632:cQx

Who will win Wednesday's International Friendly between France and Finland?

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