France takes their first step in defending their World Cup bid when they welcome home Ukraine this week. The match schedules for Wednesday evening at the Stade de France, with kickoff at 10:45 pm.
The hosts will be eyeing a comfortable route to Qatar over the next year, while Ukraine bid t make it to the finals for the first time since 2006.
The infamous Brazil heroes of the 1950s and 1960s were the last group to make it back-to-back World Cup wins. The record was only once matched with Italy following their 1934 and 1938 before World War II led to a 12-year hiatus.
However, Didier Deschamps remains with hopes of making it a double in Qatar. In case the Les Blues maintain their prowess in this year’s qualifications, they will become the third team in history to defend their World Cup.
France’s latest run only suffered a shock defeat to Finland in a friendly, with Deschamps taking 16 points from a possible 18 in their Nations League to qualify for the finals ahead of Portugal’s reigning champions.
The 2020-21 Nations League was a forgetful run for Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine, who got relegation to League B after succumbing to a 3-0 defeat in the final game to Switzerland. All of Ukraine’s fixtures ended in a defeat while shipping two goals in each of those defeats.
France vs. Ukraine Head to Head
Both sides have seven games against each other, with France takes five wins while Ukraine has one win. Here is a look at their previous encounters:
France 4-2 Sweden
Portugal 0-1 France
France 0-2 Finland
Croatia 1-2 France
France 0-0 Portugal
Switzerland 0-3 Ukraine
Germany 3-1 Ukraine
Poland 2-0 Ukraine
Ukraine 1-0 Spain
Ukraine 1-2 Germany
France Team News
Even though Fulham loanee Alphonse Areola earned a recall to the national team after solid performances, Hugo Lloris is in no danger of losing a spot in goal. Paul Pogba joined the team despite his well-documented struggles at Manchester United. Alexandre Lacazette did not get the nod again despite a stellar start at Arsenal.
Ukraine Team News
Veteran goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov set to earn his 97th cap for the Stade de France’s national team. Viktor Tsygankov sets to remain on the sidelines after picking up an injury with midfielder Taras Stepanenko out with a muscular problem.
Prediction and Odds
Ukraine will do all in its power to avoid another repeat of their last thrashing but face more vigorous opposition.
Goals Over 2.5
No Score: Away