Didier Deschamps’ France take on the Republic of Ireland this Thursday in match day five of the UEFA Euro Qualifiers. Les Bleus already have four wins but will be looking to extend their lead whereas Ireland have just one win to their name so far.
France sit top of Group B with four wins in four games. Les Bleus’ 12 points are double that of second place Greece’s six points and their goal difference of nine is also vastly superior. In fact, France are the top scoring team in the group with nine goals and are the only team in the group that haven’t conceded a goal.
The first game in Group B for France was a visit from the Netherlands. Despite having only 41% of the possession, goals from Antoine Griezmann, Dayot Upamencano and a brace from Kylian Mbappe gave France a 4 - 0 win, proving that Les Bleus were still the dominant force even after the loss in the World Cup Final. Next was a trip to Ireland in late March where the only goal of the game came from Benjamin Pavard in the 1 - 0 win. France had a shocking 82% of the possession in their win against Gibraltar. Olivier Giroud scored in the third minute and Mbappe converted his penalty in added time of the first half, giving France a 2 - 0 lead at halftime. Aymen Mouelhi scored an own goal late on to solidify the 3 - 0 win for France.
The final outing for France before this meeting was against a ten man Greece. Mbappe converted yet another penalty in the second half with Konstantinos Mavropanos being sent off just ten minutes later, the game finishing 1 - 0.
The Republic of Ireland sit third in Group B though they have only played three games. In those three games Ireland have one win and two losses, leaving them on three points. This also leaves Ireland three points adrift from Greece in the final qualification place.
Ireland’s first game of the qualifiers was the 1 - 0 loss to France at the Aviva Stadium. Stephen Kenny’s side could only manage two shots on goal and only 34% of the possession in the loss. The first away day of the qualifiers was a trip to Greece. Anastasios Bakasetas converted his penalty and Giorgos Masouras both scored in the 2 - 1 win with Nathan Collins on the scoresheet for Ireland as Matt Doherty was sent off late in extra time.
The one win for Ireland came against Gibraltar. Michael Johnston, Evan Ferguson and Adam Idah all scored in the 3 - 0 win. This was a dominant display for Ireland with Kenny’s side having 79% of the possession and 32 shots with 13 of those on target.
France and Ireland have met 18 times in their histories, the first ever meeting between the two coming back in 1937. Les Bleus have won nine times while Ireland have won four times with the other five meetings ending in a draw. However, the last five meetings have ended in four France wins and one draw, making a win for Deschamps’ side very likely this weekend.