Fixture: France vs Ireland
Venue: Stade de Gerland Lyon
Time: 6:30 PM IST
After an exciting first day in the Round of 16, the attention now moves to Lyon where the host nation France take on the Republic of Ireland.
Although they were pretty much everyone’s pre tournament favorites, France have not been as impressive as one would expect.
They needed a wonder strike from Dimitri Payet to get past Romania. A last minute header from Griezmann got them across Albania and then a stalemate against Switzerland.
Apart from the magical Payet, none of the other French stars have really turned up. Griezmann seems to be mourning his penalty in the Champions League final.
Pogba was abject in the first match but seemed much better in the match against Switzerland. France need their superstars to come up trumps now that the knockout stages have arrived.
Ireland on the other hand have been a tough and united bunch of warriors. They have been well marshaled in to a well drilled team that is difficult to break down.
Shane Long is a very good striker up front who stretches the play . McCarthy and McClean provide the quality in midfield and Randoplh is the experienced head in the goal.
The match may be decided by the form of Olivier Giroud. If Giroud has a great game then France should be on their way to the quarter finals. But if John O’Sea is able to handle the physical threat of Giroud, then France could have a problem.
Head to Head :
France have played Ireland only once in the FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifying when they beat Ireland 2-1 on aggregate.
Predicted Line Ups:
France : Loris, Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra, Pogba, Kante, Matuidi, Griezmann, Giroud, Payet
Ireland : Randoplh, Coleman, O’Shea, Duffy, Brady, McClean, Whelan, McCarthy, Hendrick, Murphy, Long