Judging by stats alone one would incline to think the Icelandic youths are on the top of their game. But looking more closely we understand things are exactly at the opposite end.
All players are from the internal competition and the Icelandic league finished about two weeks ago. Until the players got reunited for the National team there were no official training sessions.
On top of that Iceland U21 didn’t play an official game last week. It could have helped them gain some form and rhythm.
Browsing the website of the Icelandic football federation I’ve learned they will be without a central midfielder whose name I forgot and whose importance is a mystery…
France on the other hand are coming after an impressive performance away at Armenia (won 4-1). There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the way they played.
Everybody (well…almost…) had the common good in mind and acted accordingly. Central midfielders Kondogbia and Imbula were in the same time an impenetrable wall and the brain initiating most the actions.
The most impressive player was by far winger Ntep from Auxerre, a big talent whose value will increase dramatically in the recent future (that is why all teams interested should act now…). France’s left side is top class with fullback Digne (PSG) and winger Ntep there.
There were however two important players that made an exception and had something else in mind…their own interest. Winger Thauvin from Marseille who was oblivious to teammates around him and wouldn’t pass the ball even if his life depended on it. Egoism at its finest…
There was also forward Martial from Monaco acting like a primadonna, taking things too lightly and parading around opponents’ box.
They are young players and someone (their coaches) must set them straight otherwise their future is at stake and the future of French football.
Hopefully playing against group leaders will make Thauvin and Martial change their attitude. Maybe now they won’t try dribble three opponents at a time and forget about back heel passes…(that most the times missed the target anyways)
France suffered no injuries so they should be able to use the exact same players.
I see France being more in-form, confident and valuable. Even so, I would recommend avoiding taking any handicaps, mostly because of Thauvin and Martial who can be a real pain sometimes. Around 1.70 the price on France is good enough to be taken either solo or in an accumulator.
UPDATE: This preview was written on Sunday morning when odds on France were around 1.7. Since then the price suffered a heavy drop and is around 1.45. That is why you should subscribe and read the previews as soon as they are posted.