France and Uruguay are set to lock horns in what will be a replay of the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter-final clash at Stade de France on Tuesday.
World champions France will bring down the curtains on a memorable year with a friendly encounter against South American heavyweights Uruguay in Paris on Tuesday.
France were crowned world champions for the second time as they defeated Croatia in the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the summer. However, they haven’t been able to build on that triumph. Since the blockbuster event in Russia, Les Bleus have won just two of their five fixtures (D2 L1).
Last time out, they were defeated by Netherlands 2-0 in the UEFA Nations League and Monday night’s 2-2 draw between the Dutch and Germany meant Didier Deschamps’ men will not be progressing to the Nations League finals next summer. Inspite of that disappointment, France will be aiming to end the year on a high with a victory at the capital.
Uruguay have endured a torrid time since their quarter-final exit against France in the World Cup. Oscar Tabarez’s men have won just one of their four fixtures post the summer’s competition and are currently on a run of three consecutive losses, with the latest coming in the form of a 1-0 defeat against neighbours Brazil.
La Celeste will be keen on ending that rut on Monday night and get a win under their belt against the world champions to sign off 2018 on a positive note. Ahead of the meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Didier Deschamps will go into the game without star players Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Benjamin Mendy and Alexandre Lacazette. France have no fresh injuries to contend with after their defeat to Netherlands, but the manager is likely to make a string of changes to give some of the fringe stars some game time on Tuesday night.
In goal, PSG’s Alphonse Areola is likely to step in to take the place of captain Hugo Lloris. Changes are likely in both full-back slots, with Djibril Sidibe set to replace Benjamin Pavard on the right side, while Ferland Mendy is in line to make his debut on the opposite side, replacing Lucas Digne. Raphael Varane and Presnel Kimpembe should continue at the heart of the defence, however.
Young midfield sensation Tanguy Ndombele is in line to start in one of the two pivot positions in the middle of the park and is likely to be partnered by mainstay N’Golo Kante. Olympique Lyon captain Nabil Fekir could get the nod in the No. 10 role for Tuesday night’s encounter.
Borussia Monchengladbach’s in-form attacker Alassane Plea comes in on the left-flank for the home team, while Ousmane Dembele is likely to get a run out from the kick off on the right wing. Spearheading the attack for the French against the Uruguayans should be Kylian Mbappe.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Areola; Sidibe, Varane, Kimpembe, Mendy; Kante, Ndombele; Dembele, Fekir, Plea; Mbappe
The South American giants have been hit with a spate of injuries with defensive mainstays Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez and Sebastian Coates all missing, along with first-choice goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. Seasoned attacker Cristhian Stuani is also a notable absentee for La Celeste, while Marcelo Sarracchi also had to withdraw from the squad with injury.
Given how short-handed in options he is, Oscar Tabarez is unlikely to make many changes to the team that took the field against Brazil last week. In goal, however, Martin Silva is likely to come into the starting XI in place of Martin Campana. No changes are expected to the back four though, with Mathias Suarez, Bruno Mendez, Martin Caceres and Diego Laxalt set to retain their spots.
Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira will once again start at the base of the diamond midfield formation for the visitors. Juventus star Rodrigo Bentancur is a guaranteed starter as well, but his midfield partner Matias Vecino could make way for Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde on Tuesday night.
Gaston Pereiro could be replaced by Giorgian de Arrascaeta in the No. 10 slot for the Uruguayans. Upfront, there are no changes expected, with the established partnership of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in line to start again.
Probable Lineup (4-1-2-1-2): Silva; Mathias Suarez, Mendez, Caceres, Laxalt; Torreira; Valverde, Bentancur; de Arrascaeta; Luis Suarez, Cavani
- France and Uruguay have one win each in the last six encounters between the two nations, with the other four matches ending in goalless draws.
- France have not lost back-to-back matches since back in June 2015, when they were hand successive defeats by Belgium and Albania.
- Les Bleus have lost just two of their 17 fixtures in the year 2018 (W11 D4).
- Having won the first seven of their matches in 2018, Uruguay have managed to end up victorious on just one occasions in their past five outings (L4).
- La Celeste have also been on the wrong end of the result on each of their last three away trips.
Player to Watch
A lot of focus has been on the 21-year-old Barcelona attacker of late, with his attitude and mentality being questioned by personnel at his club, while he wasn’t spared by France manager Didier Deschamps either. Dembele started the season strongly for the Catalan outfit, but has faded in recent weeks. Yet, 6 goals and 2 assists in 15 games is a more than decent record.
There are no doubts over the talent and the potential that the 21-year-old possesses. But with all the negative press surrounding his casual behaviour, Dembele needs to step up and show that he has what it takes to become an elite, world-class player.
With the likes of Anthony Martial, Thomas Lemar and Kingsley Coman out with injuries, the match against the Uruguayans is Dembele’s chance to nail down a regular spot in the international setup and he should look to make full use of it.
France 2-1 Uruguay
France are coming on the back of a defeat to Netherlands and will be hurt to have missed out on qualifying for the finals of the UEFA Nations League that will take place next summer. They will be gunning to bounce back from a disappointing week and put on a show in front of the home support in their final game of the year.
Uruguay come into the game having lost three matches in a row and are without some of their most important players for the game against the world champions.
La Celeste have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six outings and without the likes of Diego Godin, Fernando Muslera and Jose Gimenez, they are likely to find it difficult to stop this French attacking unit. As a result, we at The Hard Tackle expect Les Bleus to come out on top against the South Americans on Monday night in Paris.