We preview tonight’s encounter as Les Bleus take on Jamaica in their final World Cup warm up match at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, fresh from the news that Franck Ribery and Clement Grenier are now ruled out of the tournament. This is arguably a devastating blow to coach Didier Deschamps, particularly because he is losing one of his star players in Ribery. Montpellier’s Remy Cabella and Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin have been called up to the squad as replacements.
France’s World Cup preparations have run smoothly, injuries apart, results wise at least, beating Norway 4-0 and drawing 1-1 with Paraguay. This final friendly match before the World Cup commences is likely to show a similar starting lineup to what France will field against Honduras next week. France will be hoping for a positive result and performance that will give the team the confidence that they need to believe that they can challenge in Brazil.
Jamaica coach Schafer has nothing to lose in this match as his side haven’t qualified for the World Cup, meaning that he can field a strong and experienced side to give France a real test. Jamaica are on a poor run of form in friendly matches, losing 2 of the last 3, including a 1-0 defeat to one of France’s world cup opponents Switzerland. They stopped the rot with a 2-2 draw against Egypt on Wednesday.
Team News and Tactics
Deschamps is expected to experiment this evening with his much-loved 4-3-3 formation. Benzema is expected start on the left wing with Giroud upfront and Valbuena or Remy flanking him. Sissoko, Cabaye and Matuidi are expected to start in the midfield 3, with the mercurial Pogba in fine form for club and country this season being left out because Deschamps feels he has been somewhat overused in the last two friendlies. Matuidi provides great engine and drive in midfield and Cabaye possesses and elegant touch and great vision. The defence could be similar to against Paraguay with Sagna and Evra likely to start again at full back. Koscielny will be unlikely to keep his place at the heart of the defence, probably losing out to Varane who is now fully fit again. Sakho will keep his place at centre back, with Lloris in goal.
Jamaica are expected to start with a variation of a 4-5-1 formation with Doyley and Mariappa to start in the backline. Leeds hardman Rodolph Austin will anchor the midfield with Simon Dawkins providing pace from the flanks. Seaton is expected to lead the line up front.
Pogba (France) – Paul Pogba has come of age somewhat in the past 12 months, cementing his place in the Juventus and France starting 11s. Pogba possesses great creativity and power in midfield and also has a brilliant eye for goal. Expect him to be a star at the World Cup and to propel France into the knockout stages. He will however be rested tonight.
Dawkins (Jamaica) – Simon Dawkins has had a great season on loan at Derby from Tottenham. He was a key member of the Derby squad which got to the Championship play-off final and provides good pace and trickery on the left flank. Expect him to cause Sagna a few problems this evening.
A lively and competitive game is in order with a good atmosphere expected in Lille. The French public will be hoping that their team give them something to dream about at this World Cup and to put the horrors of South Africa well and truly behind them. France should win the game relatively comfortably but as we know, friendly’s can be difficult with lots of substitutions halting the flow of the game.
Prediction: France 3-1 Jamaica