France vs USA Preview

France vs USA Preview: Heavyweight Against Heavyweight

It’s the game we’ve all been waiting for at this World Cup. The betting markets generally have an implied probability of greater than 50% that one of these two will win the tournament. And here they are, facing off in a straight knockout tie.

The United States have been stunningly dominant until the round of 16 match against Spain, where they were merely good enough to get through. France, meanwhile, haven’t put up quite the same scorelines, but have nonetheless deservedly won all their games so far.

For the French, the side looks largely settled in the first two thirds of the pitch but there are still some questions in attack. Gaëtane Thiney and Delphine Cascarino have been rotated in and out of the side but both started on the bench against Brazil. Neither have really set this tournament alight so far, but could well return to the starting eleven, possibly in place of Kadidiatou Diani or Viviane Asseyi. It feels like France still haven’t quite found the right attacking balance. Read More

Nigeria vs France

Nigeria vs France Preview: Could France Tank, And Should They?

The World Cup has once again thrown up a curious mix of incentives, and France find themselves in an odd spot. With six points from the first two games, getting out of the group is secure, and anything less than a 4-0 defeat here will at least see the side finish second.

Winning the group would see Les Bleues face a third place finisher in the round of 16, but a potentially brutal quarter final against the United States could await. Would it be better for France to lose this game and get an easier run of games? How you feel about this might say more about you than the World Cup.

Many will argue that momentum is what matters, and building confidence with another win will help propel this side to a World Cup win. On the other hand, the risk of going out to the US in the quarter finals would be an embarrassing end for a France side tipped by many to win this home tournament. It seems unlikely that the French would just completely throw this game. It would not be a surprise, though, to see a few players rested for the knockout stage. Read More

France vs Norway

France vs Norway Preview: Les Bleues must tighten the screw

Someone asked if 2019 World Cup hosts France would get off to a good start on Matchday one against Korea Republic. They certainly did, with an emphatic 4-0 victory. But Les Bleues must now tighten the screw on their lead in Group A against an equally resolute Norway side who picked apart Nigeria in a 3-0 demolition.

$400 million was competed for by 32 teams at the men’s World Cup in Russia last year. France won the showpiece and took home $38 million. In contrast, only $30 million is up for grabs in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Once again, France are poised to gobble up the $4 million that goes to the eventual winners.

Despite the glaring gender disparity in football, the improvement of the women’s game is getting more pronounced by the day. Total prize money for the Women’s World Cup has risen by 100% and is set to go higher. For the 2019 edition, one question pundits are asking is, will France hold two categories of senior world cup titles come July 7th? This much points to the terrifying quality of Corinne Diacre’s French side. Read More

France vs Korea Republic

France vs Korea Republic Preview: Can the hosts get off to a good start?

France, this year’s World Cup hosts, will be gunning for victory on home soil this summer, and they are definitely among the favourites to go all the way. In fact, they may never get a better chance; fresh from club success in the Champions League with Lyon this season, Les Bleus will be a threat to the likes of the United States, who are overall favourites, Germany, and Phil Neville’s England. Their journey towards their first title starts at the Parc Des Princes on Friday, against Korea Republic.

Like all good international sides, they are built around the most successful in their domestic league. Lyon have won the last five league titles and four Champions Leagues, having been crowned queens of Europe six times in all.

France boss Corinne Diacre has a very talented squad at her disposal, with a great blend of youth and experience. The likes of Amandine Henry, a 29-year-old driving midfielder and captain of the side, and her Lyon clubmate Eugenie Le Sommer will lead from the front alongside Paris FC’s Gaetane Thiney, who is likely to surpass 160 international caps this summer. The likes of 22-year-old Lyon striker Delphine Cascarino and PSG midfielder Grace Geyoro, 21, will also be looking to impress. Read More

Croatia brushed aside by fierce French


A strong Croatian challenge was undone by a clinical France side as Les Bleus won their second World Cup.

Croatia started the game extremely strongly dominating possession with Luka Modric orchestrating the midfield excellently, by pinning France deep into their half and getting the ball into dangerous areas. The French, fair play to them, dealt with the pressure well, and this style of play suited them, as they were happy to sit back and counter on the break dangerously.

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France 4-2 Croatia: “déprimé, ajusté, récompensé”

FranceDepressed, adjusted, rewarded. France has a new motto, at least in football. Twenty years later, Les Bleus celebrate another world title, and this time away from home. An achievement that lit up the work of Didier Deschamps, who joins the Brazilian Mario Zagallo and the German Franz Beckenbauer in the restricted lot of world champions both playing and training.

To understand this second French world title we have to go back to 2016. To July 10th, the day Portugal won the European Championship. No one wins before learning to lose, and France began to build this title two years ago.

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Croatia must stop the unstoppable

Even if football is not coming home, the show must go on. Croatia continues to dream as they face France in Sunday’s final of the World Cup. Maybe not in football terms, but in historic or political ones this will be the battle of David vs. Goliath.

Croatia, a nation that became relatively newly independent in 1991 with only four million people and has only got past the group stage twice, will face giant France which has more than 60 million people and significantly richer football history.

It is interesting that France stood in the way of Croatia in the 1998 semi-final and wound up winning its first World Cup title on home soil that year. France has been to three finals over the last six World Cups and now again stands in the way of Croatia in their pursuit of winning an elusive first World Cup title.

We Croats must be honest and say this is the ‘underdog against a favourite’ type of game and all signs point to France coming out on top. Deschamps’s side is well rested, it had already been tested in the knockout stage and presents the most powerful defence of the whole tournament.

On the other hand, Croatia somehow scraped through three tough rounds of knockout football, going the full 120 minutes in every one and needing penalties to settle two. They’ve had to come from behind in all three of these games and have had to dig deep for those wins using all 22 players at their disposal (after Nikola Kalinic was sent home following their opening game).

There must be a lot of tired legs in Zlatko Dalic’s team, as well as injuries. Five first team players skipped the last training session with Ivan Perisic as the one who is the most questionable to start in the final. But, as it has been in the tournament so far, Croatia’s medical staff will do their magic and no major changes are expected.

The latest odds and betting lines have France as a massive favourite to come out on top, but like always, this is the final game and everything is possible.

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France and fencing on the run

France has done just enough to sneak by every opponent thus far, earning all but one of their five wins by one goal. They come into the final against Croatia as heavy favorites, however this will be a cautious game between two teams keen to avoid risks, both looking to grind the other down via their respective world-class central midfields.

I’ll compare the players who, for me, will have particular clashes between them and the results will determine the progress of the match.

For that reason, the head-to-head between Luka Modric and N’Golo Kante – the tournament’s two most impressive players – should define the World Cup final, both tactically and symbolically. Kante’s role is extremely important given Paul Pogba’s tendency to drift and Blaise Matuidi’s need to close down on the left wing, and the Chelsea midfielder certainly won’t choke; he has made more ball recoveries (48) and interceptions (19) than any other player at the World Cup.

On Twelve’s chart for Modric in attack, we can see where he created his best actions with the ball. Good passes and chances created around the 18 yard box. Also good long balls from behind the centre spot line.

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The Golden Ball winner is decided… (or is it?)

It has been a funny World Cup for the superstars. Messi performed well and scored a beautiful goal against Nigeria, but Argentina were already on the ropes at the group stages and were dealt a knockout blow by France. Ronaldo had his hat trick against Spain, but went the same way as Messi in the last 16. Neymar made it to the quarter finals, and despite the fact he dominated that match, he will be remembered mostly at this tournament for the 14 minutes of playing time he spent rolling around the ground. These three can count themselves lucky. Despite amazing performances, Toni Kroos didn’t even make it past the group stages with Germany.

So who is the real star of this World Cup? The Twelve Bot has a very clear answer: Luka Modric.

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Red Devils bow out after 1-0 defeat to France

France managed to secure a 1-0 defeat over friendly rivals Belgium to progress to the World Cup Final.

Following the suspension of Thomas Meunier, Roberto Martinez was left in a difficult situation in replacing the only right back in the squad. Martinez decided to play a 3-5-2 with Nacer Chadli at RWB and a rotation of Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne at LWB. Hazard completed 10 dribbles in the match, but only three were in important areas.

France started the first five minutes of the game very brightly passing the ball around and not allowing the Belgians to get a touch of it. However, after that initial spell from the French was over Belgium completely controlled the game. They pinned France into their half and dominated possession but found it difficult to break the tough French midfield.

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