Sunday, 26 June 2016

France vs Republic of Ireland Euro 2016 Football Match Preview And Prediction - June 26, 2016


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France are set to recall key players such as Dimitri Payet, N'Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi, who were rested in the draw against Switzerland.

Olivier Giroud and Adil Rami missed a training session each to nurse minor problems but both will be available.

Republic of Ireland full-back Stephen Ward is a doubt with an ankle problem.

The defender was able to complete the win against Italy despite suffering the injury in the first half but is nonetheless a major fitness concern.

Forward Jonathan Walters, who has missed the last two games with an Achilles injury, has returned to training and could be in contention against the French.
MATCH PREVIEW

France have had a week to prepare for the last 16, and could be fresher than their opponents, having rested several key players in their final group game. The Republic of Ireland, however, arrive in Lyon battle-hardened - with this effectively their second "knock-out" game in the space of five days.

Martin O'Neill's men knew nothing but a win would do against Italy on Wednesday and Robbie Brady's header sent them through. It is the first time they have progressed beyond the group stage at a European Championship finals, and their first knock-out game at a major tournament since the 2002 World Cup.

Striker Shane Long says the game is a "massive opportunity" for the Irish.

"It's a tough game, but we're approaching it like we do any other game," he said.

"We'll look at their team, their set-pieces, their individuals and put a plan together that sees us beat them."

Head-to-head

France are unbeaten in their last five games against the Republic of Ireland (W2, D3).
France's last defeat against the Republic of Ireland was in a World Cup qualifier in 1981, when the hosts won 3-2 at Lansdowne Road.
The last five encounters have produced just four goals in total - including only one for the Irish (scored by Robbie Keane at the Stade de France in the controversial World Cup play-off second leg in 2009).

France

The last time France finished top of their group at the European Championship was in 2004, when they were then knocked out in the quarter-finals by Greece.
They are unbeaten in their last 15 games at major tournaments on home soil, winning 13 and drawing two.
The last time France won a European Championship knock-out game was the final against Italy in 2000. Since then, they have lost against Greece in 2004 and Spain in 2012.
France have not allowed their opponents a shot on target in their last 205 minutes of action at Euro 2016.
Nine of France's last 10 European Championship goals have been scored after half-time.
Three of their four goals at Euro 2016 have come from the 89th minute onwards.

Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland are in the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time in their history.
Their victory against Italy on Wednesday was only their second win in the tournament, and their first since beating England in 1988. Both victories were by 1-0 scorelines.
Both of the Republic of Ireland's goals at Euro 2016 have been scored by Norwich City players.

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