France vs Ivory Coast
France vs Ivory Coast
France will seek to make it six consecutive triumphs in all competitions on Friday evening when they host Ivory Coast in an international friendly in Marseille.
The host side has not played since defeating Finland 2-0 in their final 2022 World Cup qualifier last November, but Ivory Coast competed in the Africa Cup of Nations two months ago, reaching the round of 16 before losing on penalties to eventual champions Egypt.
- Benjamin Pavard has been forced to withdraw from the France team following a coronavirus test, while N’Golo Kante is a doubt following his recent departure from the camp for personal reasons.
- Lucas Digne is also a question due to injury, which means Theo Hernandez might start at left-back for the world champions, while Jules Kounde could start at right-back.
- Jonathan Clauss, William Saliba, and Christopher Nkunku will all be hoping for their first caps on Friday, while Olivier Giroud has returned to the group, and the 35-year-old might profit from Karim Benzema’s injury-related absence to partner Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann up front.
- Adrien Rabiot and Aurelien Tchouameni, meanwhile, are anticipated to compete for midfield positions with Paul Pogba, with a decision on N’Golo Kante’s participation expected at the final minute.
- Aurier, Bailly, Pepe, Kessie, and Haller should all start for Ivory Coast, while Max Gradel, the squad’s most experienced player at this level, is also likely to make the starting XI.
- The away side’s lineup is unlikely to include many surprises, with Jean Michael Seri slated to partner Ibrahim Sangare in the middle of the park.
- Zaha is likely to start on the bench, with Pepe, Kessie, and Gradel set to partner Haller, who has scored four goals in 12 international outings.
- Meanwhile, Mohamed Kone, Ismael Diallo, and Paul Akouokou will all be trying to earn their Ivory Coast international debuts in the following two matches.
This has all the characteristics of an enticing international friendly, and we anticipate an interesting contest on Friday. There will be no real pressure on either side, and we anticipate goals, but France should have too much quality in the end.
Our prediction is France 3-1 Ivory Coast
France: Lloris; Kounde, Varane, L Hernandez, T Hernandez; Rabiot, Tchouameni, Pogba; Griezmann; Giroud, Mbappe.
Ivory Coast: B Sangare; Aurier, Bailly, Deli, Konan; I Sangare, Seri; Pepe, Kessie, Gradel; Haller