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France wary of slipping up in Moldova

Publish on 21/03/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


World champions France kick-off qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020 on Friday evening as they face Moldova for the first time.

Friday, March 22, 2019

UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying Group H

Stadionul Zimbru, Chisinau

Moldova - France

Les Bleus are heavy favourites to begin their Group H campaign with three points at the nation ranked 170th in the world. But Deschamps' men are aware Moldova managed two creditable 0-0 draws against Belarus in the recent UEFA Nations League.

Deschamps: "Here to win"

Deschamps said: "We are here to win. We’re up against a quality Moldovan side. Two years ago in World Cup qualifying we started with a 0-0 in Belarus and it didn’t prevent us topping our group. We have a lot of respect for Moldova."

Captain Hugo Lloris, one of nine World Cup final starters set to commence Friday's historic encounter, said: "It looks like a potential banana skin. We have our status to defend and one that means that we're not allowed to make mistakes. We know what to expect and we have to respect them, even if it's only Moldova."

Coman and Kurzawa to return?

Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman, 22, is set to be selected on the left of a 4-2-3-1 and return to international football, having not featured for his country since October 2017. Deschamps said: "He has his own qualities in terms of dribbling, adding pace to the game and bearing players. He can play on either side. If he hasn't been with us, sadly for him, it's because he sustained a serious injury. He's more mature and more decisive. Before, he used to think mainly about setting up goals for others and now he thinks more about scoring."

With Everton's Lucas Digne suffering a hamstring injury in Thursday's final training session, Paris Saint-Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa is in line for his first international appearance since September 2017. World Cup left-backs Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Mendy are both injured.

"Playing against Griezmann and Mbappé is an honour"

Moldova captain Alexandru Epureanu is out with a knee injury and they've been hit by the retirement of Alexandru Gatacan, 34, a mainstay of recent years. Coach Alaxandru Spiridon conceded: "Playing against the world champions, against players such as Griezmann and Mbappé, is an honour for our players. We’re more motivated than ever. The objective is to control our emotions in the opening seconds and then we’ll have to play to show our qualities."

Probable Teams:

Moldova: Koselev - Jardan, Posmac, Craciun, Reabciuk - Antoniuc, Gatcan, Carp, Ginsari - Damascan, Ionita

France: Lloris - Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Kurzawa - Pogba, Kanté - Mbappé, Griezmann, Coman - Giroud

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