Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Preview: France vs. Poland – prediction, team news, lineups – Sports Mole


France's Kylian Mbappe on June 25, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

France came into the contest with hopes of securing top spot ahead of the Netherlands and Austria, while Poland merely had pride to play for after losing their opening two games.
Mbappe made his return to the starting lineup after sitting out the draw with the Netherlands due to the broken nose he suffered against Austria.
Sporting a face mask, Mbappe had a couple of chances to break the deadlock, but on both occasions, he was denied by Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski.
The 33-year-old made four saves during the first period to ensure the scoreline remained goalless at the break, leaving Didier Deschamps with work to do in his half-time team talk.
For France, they will be frustrated as they continue to search for their second goal of the tournament, and their first goal scored by one of their own players.
However, with an array of attacking talent at their disposal, it would not be surprising to see France finally find the breakthrough in the second period.

Two-time Euros winners France are set to face already-eliminated Poland at Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion in each side’s final group stage game at Euro 2024 on Tuesday.
Didier Deschamps’s team are second in Group D behind the Netherlands based on goals scored, but their upcoming Polish opponents have finished last and will no doubt be disappointed to have been the first team eliminated from the competition.

France midfielder N'Golo Kante pictured in June 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago
France are yet to truly show their highest level in Germany, with their narrow 1-0 victory against Austria and their 0-0 draw against the Netherlands last Friday leading some to question their credentials as possible Euro 2024 winners.
Indeed, Les Bleus can count themselves fortunate to have four points after two games considering Xavi Simons‘s 69th minute strike was controversially ruled out on Friday after Denzel Dumfries was judged to have interfered with play by preventing goalkeeper Mike Maignan from attempting to make a save.
Their 0-0 draw against the Netherlands was their 12th in Euros and World Cups since their first goalless draw in 1992, more than any other national team in this period.
Following Friday’s result, criticism of Deschamps’s team has increased, particularly from commentators who feel the Frenchman is yet to make the most of the immense talent at his disposal.
However, it should be noted that captain and talismanic forward Kylian Mbappe played no part in the draw against the Netherlands as a result of the broken nose he suffered against Austria.
France's Kylian Mbappe holds his nose plasters on June 21, 2024© Reuters
Additionally, even though France have not played as well as they would have liked, there are still aspects of their performance across the opening two games that they can look to build upon as the tournament progresses, most notably the promising displays of Theo Hernandez, Mbappe and N’Golo Kante.
As for Les Bleus’ form, they defeated Austria 1-0 in the opening group stage game and were held to a goalless draw last Friday against the Netherlands in their second, while they are also unbeaten in their last five matches and have won 14 of their last 20 fixtures.
If France avoid defeat against Poland or if Austria do not beat the Netherlands, then they will finish in the top two and go through to the round of 16.
France will top the group if they win and the Netherlands do not, but if Les Bleus and the Dutch both win or both draw, they will be split for first and second place by goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary points and then the European Qualifier rankings, in which France rank higher.
Interestingly, if France were to keep a clean sheet against Poland then it would be the first time in their history that they have conceded zero goals in the group stages of the Euros, beating their previous record of one goal set in 2016.
It would also be their eighth time qualifying from the group stages of the European Championship, and if they were to top the group it would be their sixth time doing so in their 10 attempts.
Adrien Rabiot of France, Mats Wieffer of Holland, Aurelien Tchouameni of France during the European Championship, EM, Europameisterschaft Qualifying match in group B between the Netherlands and France at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands on© Imago
As for Poland, they have finished fourth in Group D having lost their opening two games against the Netherlands and then Austria last Friday.
Although the Eagles can still finish level on points with Austria, they cannot surpass them because Austria have a superior head-to-head record given their 3-1 victory on Friday, and this supersedes factors such as overall goal difference.
In fairness to manager Michal Probierz, record top scorer and record appearance holder Robert Lewandowski was an unused substitute against the Netherlands due to a thigh problem sustained during a pre-tournament friendly against Turkey, and when subbed on in the 60th minute against Austria he had limited impact.
Probierz also only took charge of the national team in September 2023 and has overseen a period of largely positive results, having won six out of his 10 games and only lost for the first time at Euro 2024.
Poland’s exit at this stage of the competition unfortunately continues a trend of disappointing performances at major tournaments.
ympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany; Euro 2024 Group D Football, Poland versus Austria; Konrad Laimer (AUT) and Robert Lewandowski (POL) 21st June 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago
In fact, since 1986 they have only managed to reach the quarter-finals of either the Euros or the World Cup once, with that being at the 2016 European Championship in France.
As for the Euros themselves, though Poland have qualified for the last five tournaments they have exited at the group stage on four of these occasions.
Probierz’s side come into Tuesday’s clash having lost their last two games, but prior to these results they did go unbeaten for eight games, winning six times.

France's Kylian Mbappe pictured on June 17, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago
Despite sitting out against the Netherlands on Friday Real Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe is likely to return to the starting XI after breaking his nose against Austria following a collision into Kevin Danso‘s shoulder.
Manager Deschamps took a cautious approach in regard to Mbappe’s recovery by benching him on Friday, but the forward did take part in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Paderborn’s Under-21s, during which he reportedly scored twice and registered two assists.
Although Mbappe’s inclusion in the team will be a welcome boost, it does mean that Deschamps will have a selection dilemma, with the manager likely having to choose between Adrien Rabiot and Aurelien Tchouameni in order to accommodate Mbappe in the team.
However, this decision could be a controversial one given Tchouameni’s importance in and out of possession, as demonstrated by the fact he has averaged the most accurate passes per 90 of any player in the French squad at Euro 2024, as well as having won possession in the final third the second most per 90.
In fairness to Rabiot, he is the sole player in the squad who ranks above Tchouameni for possession won in the final third per 90, and given that he has been a favourite of Deschamps in some of France’s most recent tournaments it is likely that he will retain his place in the team, albeit this time positioned deeper alongside Kante.
As for Poland, they do have concerns about centre-back Bartosz Salamon due to an ankle injury that forced him to miss his side’s defeat to Austria.
Robert Lewandowski will almost certainly come back into the starting lineup considering that this could be his final game at a major international tournament.

France possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Kounde, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez; Kante, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Thuram; Mbappe
Poland possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Bednarek, Dawidowicz, Kiwior; Frankowski, Zielinski, Slisz, Moder, Zalewski; Swiderski, Lewandowski

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France’s performances have been below par at Euro 2024 so far, but they do boast a significant quality advantage over opponents Poland.
Additionally, Les Bleus should come into Tuesday’s clash as clear favourites considering the Eagles are likely to be dejected given their elimination from the competition.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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