Soccer UEFA Euro Qualification - Group Stage
France vs Greece - Match Preview
⚽ 19 June 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
France (FIFA rank: #2) eased to a 3-0 win over Gibraltar on Friday to make it three European Championship qualifying (ECQ) wins out of three and maintain control of Group B. While manager Didier Deschamps handed first caps to goalkeeper Brice Samba and centre-back Wesley Fofana, he wasn’t entirely happy with his team’s display against one of Europe’s weakest outfits.
He can therefore be expected to make changes for the visit of Greece (FIFA rank: #52) as the two sides meet for just the third time this millennium after sharing a win apiece previously, with France suffering a 1-0 defeat in the Euro 2004 quarter-finals! However, as Les Bleus haven’t lost an ECQ home game since September 2010 (W8, D2), they’ll be heavy favourites to take another step towards Germany.
Greece shouldn’t be counted out here though, as they’re the only other Group B side with a perfect record (W2) after beating the Republic of Ireland 2-1 on Friday, with many Irish fans unable to enter until just before kick-off due to a limited number of turnstiles being open, leading to chaotic scenes in Athens. The win means the Greeks have lost just one of their last six fixtures (W3, D2), and with five of those encounters producing over 2.5 goals, they often provide good entertainment.
Gus Poyet, who has experience managing in France with Bordeaux in 2018, will be urging his side to at least repeat the away draws Greece managed against UEFA powerhouses Spain and Belgium in 2021, as they take on a side ranked exactly 50 places above them. However, they’ve only won one of their last four games on foreign soil (D1, L2), so in more recent times, travelling has been a struggle.
📋 Players to watch: Olivier Giroud’s goal for France against Gibraltar was his sixth in his last four appearances for club and country, and he opened the scoring in the last three of those fixtures. In similarly hot form, Anastasios Bakasetas has netted in four of Greece’s last five internationals, scoring the Pirate Ship’s first of the game on three occasions during that period.
⚡ Hot streak: None of Greece’s last five ECQ games produced a goalless first half (W5).
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