France v Romania – EURO 2016 Betting Preview + Prediction
10 Jun 2016, Stade de France, 19:00
There is undoubtedly a huge weight of expectation on Didier Deschamps’ squad ahead of Euro 2016, with the hosts made tournament favourites by most bookmakers. While their status as the home country is most certainly playing a part in that, there is no doubting that this is by far the strongest squad France have been able to name since the days of Zinedine Zidane and company. Even if the tournament was taking place somewhere else on the continent they would be among the major contenders with Germany and Spain, though not everything has been plain sailing in their preparation.
Although France have ten players over the age of 30 and an average age of 28 in the squad, there are a dearth of natural leaders in the mix. Deschamps himself discounts this to a degree due to his history as a World Cup and European Championship winning captain, but on the field the team does not really have an inspirational characters. This is shown by the fact that Lloris is their captain, despite being the goalkeeper. When you consider the winning teams of 1998 and 2000 had names like Blanc, Desailly, Leboeuf, Thuram, Deschamps, Vieira and Zidane, the difference is rather stark.
The major difficulty France look to have is the opening game, which tends to be a hugely pressurised occasion for host nations. Romania had the best defensive record of all teams in qualifying, conceding just two goals, and will simply look to frustrate Deschamps’ men with the aim of getting a 0-0 draw, or even a shock 0-1 win. France are less familiar with Romania and would have ideally liked to face them later in the group, when they may have less inclination to be quite so defensive.
Prediction: Romania +1.5
Odds: 1.93 Pinnacle