France will be desperate not to see a repeat of the result in their opening UEFA Euro 2012 match when they travel to Belarus on Friday night.
The first meeting between the two in the campaign saw Bernd Stange’s side upset the betting odds with an unexpected 1-0 victory at the Stade de France, with France looking decidedly shaky following a disappointing World Cup and the departure of manager Raymond Domenech.
In the aftermath of the debacle in South Africa, the French Football Federation installed Laurent Blanc as head coach and he set about building a new team.
But Blanc’s first competitive match in charge of Les Bleus proved a major disappointment as Sergei Kislyak scored the only goal four minutes from time to give Belarus an unexpected triumph.
Since then, however, France have gone from strength to strength, winning all four qualifiers without conceding another goal to open up a four-point lead at the top of Group D.
It is this growing gap that second-placed Belarus will be hoping to claw back when they take on Les Bleus at the Dinamo Stadion.
France are favourites to get the result, with bwin.com pricing them at 1/2. The draw offers odds of 11/4, while betting on Belarus to do the double stands at 23/4.
In other words, new customers could use bwin’s £25 free bet to back the hosts and win £168.75 if they take all three points.
However, recent results for the home side include a draw with Kazakhstan followed by successive losses to Albania and Canada. Belarus are by no means in imperious form right now and their prospects of upsetting the French have been further damaged by the absence of eight first-team regulars for the fixture.
Dmitri Molosh, Aleksandr Kulchiy and Sergei Kornilenko are suspended, while injury rules out Aleksandr Hleb, Vitali Kutuzov, Sergei Krivets, Vitali Rodionov and Anton Amelchenko.
All this means that football betting fans could be tempted to place a wager on how many goals the visitors will score.
Placing bwin’s free £25 bet on France finding the net just once within the 90 minutes would return £77.50 for new customers, while exactly two goals or three or more sees the returns upped to £85 and £87.50 respectively.
There is also the opportunity for betting enthusiasts to place a wager on the game’s first goalscorer. Karim Benzema offers odds of 4/1 to get the game up and running, while Kevin Gameiro and Loic Remy are both priced at 5/1 to break the deadlock.
Alternatively, with France having not conceded a competitive goal since the last time the two sides met, the 11/10 odds on the away side winning to nil could tempt a number of punters.
A winning £10 bet on Belarus to repeat their 1-0 victory returns £130. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.