Bulgaria vs France preview

October 5, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Considering they face minnows Luxembourg on Tuesday, Bulgaria could squeeze into the play-offs with a win over France, but that is clearly easier said than done.

Les Bleus would make a giant step towards automatic qualification by winning in Sofia and that is precisely what they are looking to do.

Bulgaria have endured some tough times of late and they now hope to end a 14-year absence from major international competitions.

The Lions have been blowing hot and cold in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but it is their shocking away record that could ultimately break their hearts.

Namely, Bulgaria lost each of their four qualifiers on the road, with the 2-1 loss to Belarus clearly a major setback.

However, the Lions impressed to win the four home games, defeating Netherlands and Sweden in the process, and they can now be backed at 15.00 (14/1) to shock their more illustrious opponents.

Sitting on 12 points at the moment, Bulgaria will be effectively eliminated unless they can defeat France, the team they beat at Parc des Princes in 1993 to reach the 1994 World Cup.

Captain Ivelin Popov and midfielder Ivaylo Chochev miss out through suspension, while another important player Aleksandar Tonev was forced to withdraw through injury.

Probable starting line-up (4-1-4-1): Iliev – S. Popov, Bodurov, Bozhikov, Zanev – Kostadinov – Manolev, Slavchev, Tsvetkov, Nedelev – Galabinov.

France haven’t really impressed in the World Cup qualifiers, but they find themselves in a good position ahead of the final two games.

Les Bleus sit one point clear of second-placed Sweden in spite of the shock goalless draw against Luxembourg, with games against Bulgaria and Belarus next.

France will be under pressure in Sofia following the Luxembourg setback, but their star-studded squad have got to be considered favourites to claim all three points.

Didier Deschamps faces some selection problems as well considering that Paul Pogba, Laurent Koscielny, Ousmane Dembele, Benjamin Mendy and Layvin Kurzawa are out injured.

Meanwhile, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kevin Gameiro and Nabil Fekir have been left out, while Jordan Amavi, Presnel Kimpembe and Florian Thauvin are all included.

The head coach is spoilt for choices in midfield and attack, so it will be interesting to see who will start the Bulgaria game.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Lloris – Sidibe, Varane, Umtiti, Digne – Kante, Matuidi – Mbappe, Griezmann, Lemar – Giroud.

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