France welcome the USA to Paris on Friday, on the back of a successful (cough) Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
Before diving into the betting aspect of the game, I must admit it’s a relief to see the USA heralding the beginning of the Jurgen Klinsmann era with a series of winnable friendlies, including this one, where the visitors are quoted at an interesting 23/4.
After all, the Americans intended to prepare for their tilt at the Gold Cup over the summer with a friendly against…Spain. Quite why the USSF chose to help the team work on tactics and ball circulation against a side known for utterly dominating possession was beyond me, or anybody who turned up to the Gillette Stadium for that matter. Spain were three up at half time and the USA went on to lose to Panama in the group stages.
Though the USA did well to pick a France side still jittery from its rather fortuitous draw against Bosnia which booked their place at Euro 2012, Klinsmann’s arrival hasn’t been a comfortable ride either: his five friendlies in charge have so far yielded only one victory, against three defeats.
Les Bleus, on the other hand, haven’t lost any games (either friendly or competitive) since 2009, when Belarus stole all three points at the St Denis thanks to a late strike.
Despite losing midfielder Yohan Cabaye to injury, France still look solid enough, and plan on starting Maxime Gonalons to replace the Toon midfielder, while Valencia left-back Jeremy Mathieu will also get a deserved and long overdue chance in defence.
All of this points to a game dominated by the home side, who should oblige at football betting odds of 1/2, with the stalemate priced at 29/10.
For those who have had their eyes glued to the French sports press, the “news” is that Montpellier’s impressive striker Olivier Giroud will probably start. France’s odds of winning might not be very interesting, but it’s worth punting on a young man who has found his feet quickly in Ligue 1.
Last season he scored a brace against PSG in Paris, when his side were two goals and a man down. This season has already seen him score eight in twelve top-flight games, including a winner against Lille. He has plenty of appeal at 5/1 to score either the first or the last goal of the game.
Loic Remy’s groin injury will probably see him miss the start of the match, so chances are Kevin Gameiro might also play and confirm his great early-season form for big-spending PSG. A free £25 bet is offered to anyone joining bwin.com and betting on the former Lorient star to net at least twice would provide a potential return of £175.
Is it worth betting on the visitors? Though their chances aren’t great, that 23/4 quote could certainly prove tempting, especially considering France’s nervy recent displays against Belarus and, more importantly, Bosnia, who dominated in Paris after Edin Dzeko’s goal, only to be pegged back by a controversial late Samir Nasri penalty.
At the very least, the chances are that the visitors might just trouble the scorers (they are at 31/20 to notch at some point). After all, Jozy Altidore has been on form for AZ Alkmaar, rekindling a career many thought doomed after a negative spell in Spain.
He will probably be partnered by one of Major League Soccer’s big discoveries: Brek Shea, FC Dallas’ talented winger. They are 5/2 and 5/1 to score at any time respectively and should not be underestimated.
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