Norway U21 vs France U21 Predictions & Match Preview
Soccer Euro Under 21 Championship - Group Stage
⚽ 25 June 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
Norway will be kicking themselves after a 1-0 lead turned into a 2-1 defeat against Switzerland in their opening game of the UEFA European U21 Championship. Things are set to get even tougher for the Scandinavians as they prepare to face France, one of the favourites for the tournament.
Head coach Leif Gunnar Smerud steps down after this tournament having managed the side for more than nine years, and his players will be hoping to provide him with a fitting send-off and help the country qualify for their third knockout phase in as many Euro appearances, albeit their last one came in 2013. Despite failing to win their four most recent matches prior to this tournament, Smerud’s men can take heart from the fact that they held France to a 1-1 draw in their previous meeting last November, with the team’s goalscorer that day, Johan Hove, one of eight starters from that encounter in the current squad.
France, meanwhile, got their campaign underway with a 2-1 victory over Italy as Rennes’ Armand Kalimuendo and Lyon forward Bradley Barcola netted either side of Pietro Pellegri’s equaliser. The level of talent at Sylvain Ripoll’s disposal is truly eye-watering, with AC Milan right-back Pierre Kalulu and Lyon centre-back Castello Lukeba among the defensive options, while the highly sought-after pair of Manu Koné and Khéphren Thuram patrol the midfield.
Given France’s production line of superstars, it is shocking to think that they have only ever won the Euro U21s once, way back in 1988. They crashed out to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals two years ago and were outclassed by Spain in the semi-finals in 2019, having incredibly failed to qualify for the six tournaments before that. However, they have won 11 of their last 13 group-stage matches (D1, L1) and a 12th win on Sunday should be enough to send them through.
|Bookie||Home Win||Draw||Away Win||Take Action|
|@ 5.80||@ 4.45||@ 1.53||BET NOW|
|@ 5.25||@ 4.10||@ 1.48||BET NOW|
📋 Players to watch: Emil Konradsen Ceïde scored Norway’s only goal against Switzerland on Thursday and was the country’s second-top scorer in qualifying for the Euros (four goals) after Jørgen Strand Larsen, who wasn’t selected for the 23-man squad. Amine Gouiri enjoyed a fine first season at Rennes, scoring 15 goals in 33 Ligue 1 matches, while he was also France’s leading marksman in qualifying with five strikes.
⚡ Hot streak: Since being knocked out of the 2021 Euro U21s by the Netherlands, France is unbeaten in the 14 matches they’ve played against fellow U21 sides in which they’ve scored first (W11, D3).
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