Having fallen at the final hurdle three years ago on home turf, France will hope to go one step further and add the European Championship crown to the World Cup title in 2020 as they begin their qualification campaign with a trip to Moldova.
Les Bleus are de facto favourites even before a ball has been kicked on the road to next season’s continent-wide tournament, and will be fully backing themselves to reach the final at Wembley.
Firstly however, after a wavering Nations League campaign that saw them surrender the number one spot in the world, they will look to reinforce their credentials as Didier Deschamps’ side head east.
Alexandru Spiridon, entering his second year in charge, knows that his side faces difficulty in qualifying from Group H, with Iceland and Turkey among other rivals – but that if they can shock the world champions, anything will be possible.
|Game||Moldova vs France|
|Date||Friday, March 22|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 3:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game will be broadcast on Univision Deportes En Vivo and will be available for livestreaming on the ESPN+ service.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Univision Deportes En Vivo||ESPN+|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football, while it will be available for livestreaming on the Sky Go app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Football||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Namasco, Koselev, Celeadnic|
|Defenders||Epureanu, Posmac, Jardan, Platica, Reabciuk, Rozgoniuc, Graur, Craciun|
|Midfielders||Cebotaru, Antoniuc, Ionita, Ginsari, Carp, Cociuc, Anton, Sandu, Turcan|
|Forwards||Damascan, Ambros, Milinceanu, Nicolaescu|
Alexandru Spiridon as a trio of uncapped faces among his squad, with goalkeeper Dumitru Celeadnic, defender Artur Craciun and Iaser Țurcan all vying for appearances.
There was no place for experienced midfield duo Alexandru Gațcan and Alexandru Dedov however among the hosts' assembled party.
Moldova starting XI: Koselev, Jardan, Posmac, Carp, Reabciuk, Cebotaru, Ionita, Antoniuc, Cociuc, Ginsari, Nicolaescu
|Goalkeepers||Lloris, Mandanda, Areola|
|Defenders||Pavard, Kimpembe, Varane, Umtiti, Digne, Zouma, Sidibe, Kurzawa|
|Midfielders||Pogba, Kante, Matuidi, Sissoko, Ndombele|
|Forwards||Griezmann, Lemar, Giroud, Mbappe, Coman, Fekir, Thauvin|
Didier Deschamps will have a formidable pool of players to call upon ahead of their European Championship qualification campaign.
He has however been handed the blow of losing the in-form Anthony Martial to injury, with Thomas Lemar called up as a replacement.
France starting XI: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Kurzawa, Kante, Pogba, Coman, Mbappe, Griezmann, Giroud.
Betting & Match Odds
France are the odds-on favourites at 1/8 to prevail with bet365 , while a draw is available at 7/1. A win for Moldova is priced at 20/1.
The weight of expectation may be upon France as they prepare to begin the long road to the 2020 European Championships among the red hot favourites to lift the crown.
Les Bleus’ triumph at the World Cup in Russia last year put them on top of the globe, marking them out as the side to beat – and having fallen at the final hurdle in 2016 to Portugal in the Euros they themselves hosted, they will be determined to go one step further across in the next edition.
They begin their qualification campaign on the back of a relatively disappointing Nations League performance, with Netherlands edging them out for a place at the finals, and will hope to restore their finest form in Group H.
First up, they travel to Moldova, who they meet for the first time in competitive football, with matches against Iceland, Turkey, Albania and Andorra to come.
Alexandru Spiridon’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways after defeat to Kazakhstan in a friendly earlier this year, with their own Nations League campaign having also been a relatively middling affair.
They will welcome their visitors to the 10,400-capacity Zimbru Stadium, one of the smaller national venues in the UEFA coefficient.
The manager is entering his second year in charge and is hoping to achieve the unexpected by guiding them beyond their additional rivals to reach their first major tournament since ceding from the Soviet Union and CIS.
France travel with a strong party headlined by PSG striker Kylian Mbappe and including Manchester United’s in-form Paul Pogba.
The latter’s Red Devils team-mate Anthony Martial however was forced to pull out through injury, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Lemar called up in his stead.