Didier Deschamps has warned his France side they can expect Iceland to give his 2018 FIFA World Cup winners a stiff test in Monday's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier.
Monday 25 March, 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying
Stade de France, Paris
France - Iceland
France beat Iceland 5-2 en route to finishing runners-up at the last European Championship, but needed two goals in the last four minutes — including a 90th-minute Kylian Mbappé penalty — to snatch a draw with them in a friendly in October.
Deschamps expects Monday's Group H qualifier at the Stade de France to be just as keenly contested.
"I had no doubt in October about the quality of this Iceland team, I don't expect anything less tomorrow. Character is in its DNA," said Deschamps. "We have to play better. We know why we're here: to be able to keep our momentum and take three more points."
France opened their qualifying campaign with a 4-1 win in Moldova on Friday while Iceland were 2-0 victors in Andorra on the same night.
Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman did not feature in the triumph in Chisinau, and Deschamps confirmed he will not play a role in Saint Denis either due to a minor back problem.
On paper, France's world champions should be too strong for the visitors, but captain Hugo Lloris is fully aware the hosts have to live up to their billing as favourites.
"They're a competitive team, it'll be a big challenge for them to face us again at the Stade de France. But it all depends on us. If we give them hope during the game, we could start to doubt. We'll have to show discipline and concentration. If we play to our best, it'll be difficult for them. We have to get a result and put in a good performance," said the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper, the last line of defence of a France side that has lost just one of its last 14 home internationals.
"Every game is important and even more so when you're up against other teams in your group. We have to approach the game well and make the difference, even if not everything is riding on this game."
Probable France team
Lloris (cap.) – Pavard, Varane, Umtiti (or Kimpembe), Kurzawa – Mbappé, Kanté, Pogba, Matuidi – Griezmann, Giroud