Deschamps to try superstar trident
France coach Didier Deschamps is tipped to give a first look at what Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé can cook up together in attack as they face Italy in a friendly in Nice on Friday night.
Friday, June 1, 2018
Allianz Riviera, Nice
France - Italy (Kick-off at 21:00 CET)
After trying out a new-look line-up in France's 2-0 friendly domination of Ireland on Monday, Deschamps is once again tipped to run the rule over his squad, testing out an ultra-promising attacking line-up against an Italy side doubtless out to re-establish their credentials under new boss Roberto Mancini after missing out on a place at the impending World Cup in Russia.
This time out, the France boss is tipped to go with a 4-3-3 formation with Mbappé, Griezmann and Dembélé looking to use their blistering pace and precision to carve up the Italian backline. Despite his central role in attack, Griezmann will likely sit back somewhat, using his creativity to play in his attacking partners, blurring the lines between the 4-3-3 and the diamond midfield 4-4-2 that worked so well against Ireland.
"I'm very satisfied with what I've been seeing since last Wednesday, but in the lead up to the tournament, there are still things to take care of," said Deschamps in his pre-match press conference, likely referring to decisions on preferred formation and player combinations. "We won't necessarily have the same line-up from match to match, but the objective is always the same: to be effective in attack and defence."
While Deschamps is likely to name a no-surprise midfield of N'Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba and Corentin Tolisso, his tinkering instinct is likely to find its way to the backline. Benjamin Pavard is tipped to replace Djibril Sidibé at right-back and Lucas Hernandez to deputise for a Benjamin Mendy still short of match fitness after a long injury lay-off (ACL).
Home comfort for Balotelli?
Meanwhile Mancini's Italy are tipped to line up with Mario Balotelli - who will be playing on home turf at OGC Nice's Allianz Riviera - up front, fed by Bryan Cristante in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
France: Lloris (c); Pavard, Rami, Umtiti, Hernandez; Tolisso, Kanté, Pogba; Mbappé, Griezmann, Dembélé
Italy: Sirigu; Zappacosta, Bonucci (c), Rugani, De Sciglio; Chiesa, Pellegrini, Bonaventura, Insigne; Cristante; Balotelli