France v Switzerland: Les Bleus set to cruise into quarter-finals

The tournament favourites are in action and ought to win with few problems on Monday night, writes James Eastham...

France set to shine

France have struggled to dominate games at Euro 2020 so far but this Last-16 game vs Switzerland presents a fantastic opportunity for les Bleus to perform closer to their potential.

Didier Deschamps' side are still looking for what they call 'un match reference' in their homeland, and this fixture versus doughty but limited Switzerland in Bucharest gives the tournament favourites a chance to show why they're so highly-rated.

France are 1.6 to win, with Switzerland the 7.8 outsiders and The Draw 4.0 ('The Draw' in this case refers to the result after 90 minutes; extra-time is not included).

France's price - longer than you might expect - makes sense based on the occasionally underwhelming standard of football they produced during the group stage: they kicked-off with an impressive 1-0 win over Germany, but then dropped points in less convincing fashion against Hungary (1-1) and Portugal (2-2).

Defensive concerns for les Bleus

There is an injury concern for France, too, with Lucas Hernandez not a certain starter. Latest reports say the Bayern Munich defender should be fit enough to begin the match but there remains a doubt at the time of writing.

Left-back understudy Lucas Digne is already ruled out of the game with a muscle strain, so Hernandez's absence would force France into employing Plan C.

On Saturday, the France squad experimented with a back three in training, using Adrien Rabiot - forced into action as a substitute in an emergency left-back position in the second-half of France's final group game against Portugal - as the left-wing-back.

It would hardly be ideal for France to have to reorganise their defensive shape at such short notice, and Rabiot has little to no experience of playing as left-sided "piston" with defensive responsibilities.

Such is the talent in France's ranks, however, that Karim Benzema and co. could easily run out winners by a couple of goals in normal time, even if they are required to make a few defensive adjustments.

Manager Deschamps treats the group phase and knockout stage of major tournaments almost as though they're two different competitions altogether. Mentally and psychologically, therefore, we could see a more focused France here, complete with greater energy and fewer mistakes.

The evidence of the group stage was that a France team playing at its best has little to fear from a Switzerland side that has an excellent track record of making the knockout stages of major tournaments but invariably lacks the class to go beyond the Last 16 stage.

Switzerland impressed against Wales (1-1) and Turkey (3-1) but were outclassed against Italy (0-3) in the one game that was a reasonable guide to how Switzerland might fare against the type of top-class opposition they face here.

Put simply, it's hard to see how Switzerland can triumph given that they're individually and collectively weaker than France all over the pitch.

Comfortable triumph on the cards

If the odds on a France victory are too short for you, consider backing les Bleus on the Asian Handicap.

With our selection on this game, you'll get your stakes back if France win by a single goal, and you'll make a profit if France win by two or more goals.

With the attacking potential in their ranks, and the way the Switzerland defence got picked apart at times by Italy, France ought to win in 90 minutes, and their chances of claiming a two-goal (or better margin) of victory look strong, too.

In-running opportunities

One trading opportunity - or in-running opportunity - that may occur based on matches involving these two sides so far at the finals is to back the second-half to feature goals.

Nine of the 16 (56%) goals that occurred in group games involving these two sides were scored after half-time.

Even more noticeable than those raw goals stats, however, was that matches involving these two sides - and especially France - frequently opened up after the interval.

For example, the two goals that France have scored in open play at these finals - i.e. ruling out own goals and penalties - were both netted after half-time. And the two goals they had ruled out for marginal offside decisions in their 1-0 win over Germany were also scored after half-time.

It would be no surprise to see this game open up and contain goals after the interval.

To make this forecast pay, consider using the Under/Over Goals markets to back the idea of the game having two more goals than there are on the board at the half-time stage.

For example, if the half-time score is 0-0, back the game to have Over 1.5 Goals; if the half-time score is 1-0, back the game to have Over 2.5 Goals, and so on.

With this type of selection, you won't even need the second-half to actually contain two goals to make a profit: one goal may well be enough for you to succesfully close your bet.

As long as there is a goal in the first 25 minutes or so of the second-half - i.e. by the 70th minute mark - then you ought to be able to close out for a profit.

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