France vs. Italy
|Date & Time||Friday June 1, 2018, 3:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Italy +399 / France -124 / Draw +264 -- Over/Under: 2.5
France and Italy meet Friday in International Friendly soccer action at the Allianz Riviera.
France is coming off a dominant performance over Ireland in which it owned the possession 76 percent of the match, got eight shots on goal and won the match 2-0. France has found its offense as of late, scoring a combined seven goals in its last three matches and building some much needed confidence heading into the World Cup. In the most recent match against Ireland, Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir scored within three minutes of one another while the defense allowed just one shot on goal and pitched its first clean sheet since last years match against Wales. If France can build on such momentum, this is going to be a dangerous club heading into the middle of June.
Italy is still mourning the fact this club didn’t qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, and you have to question the motivation for the players at this point. The good news is that Italy looked good in its most recent match against Saudi Arabia, a team that will play in the opening World Cup match against host Russia. Mario Balotelli scored in his return to international play and the Italians produced five shots on goal in the 2-1 victory. Andrea Belotti had the late goal that pretty much sealed the deal. It was an overall impressive performance for Italy and the clubs fist victory since beating Albania last October. Maybe playing these respected clubs that will be playing in the tournament has provided motivation for Italy to kind of prove that this is a roster that deserves to be playing for the prestigious trophy.
France has owned Italy over the years, positing a 3-1-1 record in the last five matches. The last meeting was a International Friendly match in 2016, a meeting France won 3-1. Italy’s only win over France during those five matches came in the 2008 UEFA European Championship. Four of the last five meetings have produced at least two goals.
France has found its offensive firepower as of late and needs to keep it going heading into the World Cup. Italy really doesn’t have anything to play for besides pride, and playing on the road could lead to even less motivation if the home team gets off to a fast start. This is sure to be an uphill battle for Italy, as motivation is key in these type of matches.
I like France to continue its dominance over the Italians.