by Ian S. Palmer
France returns home to the Stade de France in Paris on Tuesday, March 29 when the former World Cup champions take on Russia in a pre-Euro 2016 warm up match. The French made the short trip to the Amsterdam Arena on Friday where they upset Holland 3-2. Meanwhile, Russia beat Lithuania by a score of 3-0 at home. France will be taking center stage this summer as the nation is hosting the 2016 European championships and qualified for the tournament automatically. This is France’s first match in Paris since November 13 of last year, which was the date of the deadly terrorist attacks on the French capital.
- Pinnacle currently lists France the favorites at -194 with Russia +714 and a draw at +312
France vs Russia – Head to Head:
- These two sides last met in April of 2002 with the game ending in a 0-0 draw in France. Overall, these two nations have met just five times in the past since the Soviet Union collapsed with the first meeting being in 1993 in France. Each team has won twice, lost twice and drawn the other fixture. France has managed to outscore Russia 8-7 in those meetings.
France has six victories in their past seven outings. The only side to beat them in that stretch was England by a 2-0 score late last year at Wembley Stadium in London. They’ve beaten some strong teams over that stretch including Holland, Portugal and Germany. The French also have seven wins and four losses in their past 11 contests with 20 goals scored and 14 allowed against. France has a well-balanced squad with Hugo Loris in goal and Antoine Griezmann leading the attack along Anthony Martial and Olivier Giroud, who has three goals in his last two appearances for France.
Russia had won four straight games before falling 3-1 to Croatia last November, but the win over Lithuania means they’ve now won four of their past five and have lost just once in their past eight matches. France has won three straight matches at home and has kept a clean sheet in the past two of them. Russia has also been playing quite well in their own end lately as they’ve shut out the opposition three times in their past four fixtures. The team has also been red hot on the road as of late as Russia has won four consecutive clashes away from home.
France will definitely be a tougher test for Russia than Lithuania was and Russian manager Leonid Slutsky went with a 4-3-3 formation in that victory with the three players up front being Aleksandr Samedov, Pavel Mamaev and Fedor Smolov. In addition, Aleksandr Kerzhakov returned to the national team after a lengthy absence. There were also a couple of other relative newcomers in Ilya Maksimov and Aleksandr Golovin. However, Slutsky left out high-profile players such as Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Kokorin, Artyom Dzyuba and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. All four of those players are expected to play against France though.