France target three-point boost in Bulgaria

Les Bleus

France captain Hugo Lloris has told Les Bleus they "must do everything to stay in first place" in Group A as they close in on a place in next summer's 2018 World Cup finals.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying Group A

Levski Stadium, Sofia

 Bulgaria - France 

Following a surprise defeat to Sweden last June and a shock goalless draw with Luxembourg in their last qualifier, France are just a point ahead of the Scandinavians with two games left.

While Sweden will play Luxembourg at home, France travel to Bulgaria on Saturday knowing only a win will assure them of remaining in pole position to clinch a place in Russia next summer ahead of next week's final qualifier at home to Belarus.

"We have to do well because the finale is approaching. We have to do everything to stay in first place against a team that is solid at home," said Lloris, part of the France side that won 4-1 against Bulgaria in Paris in October 2016.

"We know what to expect. It'll be up to us to make the difference."

Lloris: 'Show our intentions'

Didier Deschamps is expected to start with Olivier Giroud on the bench for the first time since EURO 2016, placing the former Montpellier Hérault SC man's Arsenal team-mate Alexandre Lacazette at the head of the attack with Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.

With Paul Pogba injured, Corentin Tolisso, Blaise Matuidi and N'Golo Kanté will form the three-man midfield in a 4-3-3 formation that the France boss will hope can unleash the attacking potential of his side.

"After the Luxembourg game, we had to take a lot of the responsibility. We didn't start with the aggression and determination that we should have had," Lloris explained.

"You can't go out onto the pitch saying to yourselves, 'We wait, we have 90 minutes.' Even so, we had chances. Now it's a very different game. From kick-off, we'll have to show our intentions and win."

Probable team

France: Lloris; Sidibé, Varane, Umtiti, Digne; Tolisso, Kanté, Matuidi; Mbappé, Lacazette, Griezmann

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