Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
France V Brazil
Thursday 26th March. 8PM. ITV 4
It’s the first week of international fixtures of 2015 before the crucial set of Euro 2016 qualifiers, fans can sink their teeth into a mouth-watering friendly as France host Brazil at the Stade de France.
Both teams will view this contest as great preparation ahead of their respective tournaments, whilst fans across the globe will be eager to see some of the world’s top talent in action.
Pride might be the only thing at stake, but we’re prepared for an absolute thriller.
Les Bleus Continue Euro 2016 Preparations[quote_right]Neymar to score anytime @ 6/4 with Bet365[/quote_right]Their position as Euro 2016 hosts means that Didier Deschamps’ men are without any competitive football in 2015 so a contest against one of the world’s strongest outfits signals a very important test for Les Bleus and they’ll be eager to pass the test with flying colours.
France’s most famous moment came against Brazil in this very stadium as they triumphed in a climactic World Cup final. Ultimately, the hosts will be hoping to see a similar story next summer as they host a major tournament for the first time in 18 years, but their immediate hopes lie with getting a positive result against the Selecao.
They will have to do it without star player Paul Pogba, though, who sits out through injury. However, this could pave the way for the likes of Antoine Greizmann, Kurt Zouma and Morgan Schniderlin to emerge as real stars. Likewise, Oliver Giroud will be eager to transfer his recent club form to the international arena, whilst Karim Benzema would also love to get amongst the goals following a poor spell for club side Real Madrid.
Deschamps is bound to use this opportunity for some experimentation but will want to extend the side’s unbeaten run to seven matches. Expect a strong display from Les Bleus.
Brazil Chasing Seven Heaven
Selecao still have plenty of work to do on the road to redemption following their humiliating exit at World Cup 2014, but new manager Dunga started his second stint in charge with six straight victories and he’ll be hoping to start 2015 in similar fashion – especially with this year’s Copa America fast approaching.
Unsurprisingly, there is a large European feel to the squad with the bulk of players being based in the top leagues. Captain Neymar will be eager to put another dent into Pele’s record by adding to his 42 goals. Meanwhile, Premier League stars such as Philippe Coutinho, Willian and Fernandinho can give their respective Copa America chances a huge boost by putting in a strong performances against a very capable opponent.
The experienced Robiho returns for what would be his 96th cap and the Santos striker could underline his importance with a goal or two. Despite the natural links between Brazil and free-flowing attack, there is no doubt that (Neymar aside) there is a real lack of quality from the central attacking roles. Fortunately, a supporting cast that also boasts the talent of Oscar appears ready to compensate for those deficiencies.
Brazil won the last head-to-head meeting via a comfortable 3-0 scoreline in 2013, a similar outcome would serve as a great momentum boost ahead of this summer’s tournament. It should be a cracking encounter.
France V Brazil Betting
There is a real sense that this contest could go either way and that has been reflected by the bookies odds. France, with home advantage, are the slight favourites at 29/20 with Bet365 but a price of 9/5 on Brazil suggests there isn’t any real inkling to how this one will pan out. The draw can be backed at 12/5.
As far as we’re concerned, the deciding factor could be Pogba’s omission and for that reason alone we’re taking Brazil on the DNB market.
Despite being an away game, Selecao are accustomed to playing in Europe so this shouldn’t pose much of a difference. It’s pivotal that they build momentum ahead of Copa America and we feel Dunga’s blend of defensive quality, supplemented by the attacking prowess of Neymar should give them a great chance in Stain-Denis.
Brazil DNB @ 21/20 with William Hill
Similarly, it really is difficult to rule out the impact of Neymar. Fourty-two goals from 60 caps is a statistic that speaks for itself and the Barca boy has additionally hit seven in six games as captain.
Neymar received some criticism for an average display against Real Madrid on Sunday but his second season in Spain has been a roaring success and we expect he’ll shine once more for the national side here.
Neymar to score anytime @ 6/4 with Bet365