Bulgaria vs France Prediction, Preview, H2H, Lineups & Betting Tips
Bulgaria vs France prediction for Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Sofia. Les Bleus would guarantee themselves a top-two finish if they triumph in Bulgaria, but the French look to hold onto top Group A position which secures direct flight to Russia. Read on what our betting experts have to say in a detailed match preview, prediction and free betting tips.
H2H History: Bulgaria vs France
France doesn’t keep good memories when travelling to Bulgaria and whether you believe it or not, their last victory in the Eastern European country was 85 years ago. Actually that was the first ever meeting between both nations and France won 3:5 in a friendly match. They have one draw only (2:2) in following eight visits, which dates back in the 1978 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Despite all seven defeats in Bulgaria, France still holds a positive balance when facing Bulgaria thanks to a success exactly one year ago, when Les Bleus won 4:1 at the “Stade De France” in Paris. This forms an overall balance of 9 victories for France, 4 draws and 8 wins on Bulgarian side, including their only one on French turf (1:2 from November 1993), which was a direct duel for a position at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Anyway, three years later Les Bleus took their sweet revenge at the European Championship finals in England where France with Didier Deschamps in the squad won 3:1 against Bulgaria with Petar Hubchev in the squad. Thus France eliminated “The Lions” after the UEFA Euro 1996 group stage.
FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Bulgaria vs France 07.10.2017
France are often mentioned among the potential 2018 World Cup winners, although they still have plenty of work to do to get there in a first place. Didier Deschamps already suffered two massive setbacks during the campaign and if the goaless draw from Belarus was somehow forgotten after a series of pleasing results, France lost to Sweden and failed to beat Luxembourg at home only a month ago. This caused a serious frustration but France remains on the Group A’s peak thanks to a surprising victory of their current opposition Bulgaria, who won 3:2 vs Sweden. This leaves a small gap (one point) between France and Sweden who are both favourites for the top-two positions, but the Netherlands have their chance as well.
Even hosts Bulgaria have a theoretical opportunity to claim one of the top positions but that’s pretty illusory and is also related with some incredible failures of the other teams. First of all they must win against France and even if history is backing them, this will be a major surprise. Nevertheless, Bulgaria boasts a 100% home record in the group and this could be a really tough match for the French side. Petar Hubchev’s men already won against both the Netherlands (2:0) and Sweden (3:2) in Sofia, so they shouldn’t be underestimated at all.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Bulgaria goes against the odds without two first-team players who must serve their suspensions. Petar Hubchev cannot rely to midfielder Ivaylo Chochev and captain Ivelin Popov, while some other players with certain national team experience were left out from the squad – Nikolay Mihaylov, Aleksandar Tonev, Georgi Milanov, Svetoslav Dyakov, Valeri Bojinov and Dimitar Rangelov.
Suspensions of Ivaylo Chochev and Ivelin Popov leave some questions about Bulgaria’s attacking formation and Hubchev has some important decisions to make. Stanislav Manolev will wear the captain armband and is expected to start on the left wing, while Spas Delev can lead the attack. Delev returns in the group after an injury he picked against Belarus early in June and he is one of the few options Hubchev has in attack. Another one is Genoa’s striker Andrey Galabinov who can start if Delev is used on the wing, while Manolev takes his regular position on the right side.
France heads to Bulgaria with a list of missing players where except suspended Paul Pogba, who is injured as well, we find Laurent Koscielny, Layvin Kurzawa, Benjamin Mendy, Ousmane Dembele. However, Didier Deschamps cannot complain from the lack of world class players and fact that French coach can afford to drop out players like Kurt Zoma, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Nabil Fekir, Kevin Gameiro and Anthony Martial speaks enough.
Most concerns for France are in defense where Raphaël Varane and Samuel Umtiti are expected to start as a centre-back duo, but Adil Rami can be an option as well. Djibril Sidibe looks favourite to start as a right-back while there is a competition between Lucas Digne and Christophe Jallet, who can start on the left-back.
Bulgaria vs France Prediction and Betting Tips
We can expect a brand new formation of the French defensive line and this may have impact over the final score. Their attacking quality is out of question and after a goalless game vs Luxembourg, France will be eager to show their teeth and to put an end of one negative streak when visiting Bulgaria.
On the other hand Bulgarians don’t have anything to lose and they mostly play for their own honour. Considering their solid home record and two-faced performances thus far in the qualifiers, we definitely believe that odds on “Both teams to score” represent a great value. Our betting prediction goes on: “Both teams to score – Yes”.
Possible Lineups of Bulgaria and France
Venue: “Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski”, Sofia.
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz from Spain.
Bulgaria: Plamen Iliev – Petar Zanev, Bozhidar Chorbadzhiyski, Nikolay Bodurov, Strahil Popov – Georgi Kostadinov, Simeon Slavchev, Kristiyan Malinov – Todor Nedelev, Stanislav Manolev, Spas Delev. (4-3-3)
France: Hugo Lloris – Djibril Sidibe, Raphaël Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne – N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Corentin Tolisso – Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette. (4-3-3)