It’s the hosts vs the luck of the Irish as France take on the Republic of Ireland in what is a highly anticipated match up!

France qualified for the knockout stages in very uneventful style as they only scraped wins against Romania and Albania, whilst limping over the final hurdle in a 0-0 draw with Switzerland. Only Dimitri Payet seemed to be a stand out character for France as he notched up with 2 crucial goals, one against Romania for the winner, to help send his nation through to the knockout stages of the tournament.

Republic of Ireland are a team full of passion and ability to do great things. They showed this during the group stage as they faced Sweden in their first game; it was a big game for the Irish and it meant everything to the team and their fans. Ireland showed their talent as they took the lead with phenomenal goal from Wes Hoolahan, but unfortunately, an own goal meant the points were shared, despite the hard work from Martin O’Neill’s men. Their second game against Belgium, but unfortunately their hard work and commitment did absolutely nothing this time round as they were crushed 3-0! In their 3rd and final

In their second game against Belgium, their hard work and commitment did absolutely nothing this time round as they were crushed 3-0. In their third and final game they faced already qualified Italy. Italy rested eight players for this game but were certainly going to be no pushover. Ireland, in all honesty, were on top for the entire game. They bombarded Italy with attack after attack from all angles but they just could not seem to find a way through the stubborn Italian defence. That was until a wonderful, curling ball went in behind the defence only to find the head of Robbie Brady, who netted home and sent Ireland to the knockout stages!

Predicted Lineups:

France Predicted XI: Lloris (C), Sagna, Koscielny, Rami, Evra, Kante, Pogba, Payet, Coman, Giroud, Griezmann.

ROI Predicted XI: Randolph, Coleman, O’Shea (C), Keogh, Ward, McCarthy, Hendrick, Whelan, Brady, Murphy, Long.

For me, an upset would be brilliant for the tournament but unfortunately for the Irish, I have got to say that France will have too much backing and ability for the Irish to get through and with Dimitri Payet dominating whenever he plays I think he will be one of the deciding factors to France’s success.

One player who I do feel will provide a serious threat to Ireland is Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann. He didn’t get off to the best of starts this Summer as his showing in France’s opening game vs Romania was less than impressive. He did get dropped for the second game against Albania, however, he did come off the bench to nab himself a goal to put France 1-0 up late on before Payet sealed the win. I believe that he will need to be watched as I’m sure that goal will give him more confidence and no doubt will he be looking to impress, especially with the creativity behind him.

 

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