French players celebrate their team’s opening goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between France and Sweden at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north Paris, on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 (Credit: AP Photo / Francois Mori)
- Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers begin Wednesday, March 24
- France’s pursuit to defend its crown will start with a day one clash against a hungry young Ukrainian team
- Get our odds, overview and best bet below for this Group D reunion below
All of Europe will begin their quest to qualify for the World Cup this week and from the start we will have an intriguing Group D match between France and Ukraine on Wednesday March 24, kicking off at 3:45 p.m. EST at the Stadium. . from France to Paris.
The Blues should have no problem climbing comfortably to the top of their group with Bosnia, Finland and Kazakhstan also in their group. The Ukrainians are not to be taken lightly, however, after turning heads in the 2019 European qualifiers, where they booked their ticket to this summer’s tournament.
But the French will have hopes of a positive result on Wednesday after beating Ukraine 7-1 in an international friendly in October behind Olivier Giroud’s brace.
Cotes France vs Ukraine
|Match||Spread||Moneyline||Total to DraftKings|
|France vs Ukraine||FRA -1.5 (-141) | UKR +1.5 (+112)||FRA -455 | UKR +1200 | TIRAGE +500||Ov 2,5 (-141) | A 2,5 (+114)|
All odds are taken on March 23
France arrives with confidence
After winning the last World Cup in Russia in 2018 and dominating in all areas since, there is no reason France should not ooze confidence as they prepare for qualifying.
With a team brimming with talent, Didier Deschamps has the choice between a multitude of players, starting with Kylian Mbappe. The PSG star is undoubtedly one of the best strikers in the world not named Erling Haaland and a staple of the France team.
He played for his country in Russia at the tender age of 18 and with more experience under his belt now, it’s scary to think how much better Mbappe can be on the international stage.
Antoine Greizmann and Anthony Martial will be two of eight players who will join Mbappe at the top of the squad for the World Cup qualifiers, while Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante will patrol the midfield. On the backline side, Deschamps chose nine defenders, with Raphael Varane, Presnel Kimpembe and Benjamin Pavard at the head of the bill and three of the most experienced.
– Equipe de France @ (@FrenchTeam) 23 mars 2021
Although qualifying for Qatar and the Euros this summer is the focus, France also has a chance of winning another trophy in the fall as they are one of the last four remaining teams in the Nations League, which resumes in October.
Heading into Wednesday’s game, France have tasted defeat only once in their last eight appearances, winning six times.
Ukraine looking for a better result than in October
COVID-19 tore Andriy Shevchenko’s squad apart in their last clash with Les Bleus, resulting in an embarrassing defeat. They are very aware that this will be their toughest World Cup qualifying game, but a better performance will certainly be the goal.
Of the Ukrainian squad of 33, five players have had to withdraw due to injury issues and the virus. Expect them to take a more defensive approach in this game against an attacking French team full of deadly finishers.
The Ukrainians have not been at their best in recent international matches, scoring just two wins in their last six Nations League games last fall, resulting in a Group B relegation of the competition. On a more positive note though, their only victory was against a very strong Spanish team.
His first day in training? His first City goal? His childhood nickname? 👶
Oleks Zinchenko answers a few quick questions on the go! ⏰🔥
🔷 #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re
– Manchester City (@ManCity) 22 mars 2021
West Ham winger Andriy Yarmolenko will be seen as brilliant in the final third, having scored 38 times in 92 appearances for his country, the best total goals for any player in Shevchenko’s current squad.
Ghent star Roman Yaremchuk will likely lead the line with six goals in just 19 appearances for Ukraine in his young career. Manchester City midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko will also be a mainstay of the squad and is capable of playing both an attacking and sustaining role.
France vs Ukraine Key Statistics
|5-1-0||Record in the League of Nations||2-0-4|
Best result France vs Ukraine
France is a big favorite in this meeting, unsurprisingly. I really don’t see any way for Ukraine to find a result here, not even a draw. The reigning World Cup champions are just too powerful and they also play brilliantly at home.
I ask the hosts to keep a clean sheet Wednesday and to mark twice.
Choice: France 2-0 (+460)