France and England go head to head tonight as William Hill offer free bets on the game and report they have received plenty of money on the draw, in what should be a fantastic game between two teams with big ambitions in Poland and Ukraine this summer.
They are the two favourites to progress from Group D of course and victory here will set the winning side up nicely to make it to the knockout stages. Defeat though and everything appears a lot more difficult.
These two teams have always had a fierce rivalry of course and it should be a lively encounter from 5pm on Monday. There is no doubt that it is a fixture which should entertain the neutral too.
Looking at France to begin with, they appear to be many people’s picks as the ‘dark horses’ for success this summer. They are not amongst the main contenders – Spain, Germany and Holland – but this is an extremely talented French team.
After a ridiculously poor 2010 World Cup campaign, Laurent Blanc was installed as manager and the transformation is extremely impressive. They are now young, talented, slick and ambitious.
In fact, they haven’t tasted defeat since 2010 and in the warm-up matches they have looked on top of their game. For them, it is all about maintaining this form on Monday and beyond.
As for England, they are in a similar boat to France with regards to their aim to improve on a very poor World Cup two years ago. However, the transformation hasn’t been quite so well thought out or patient.
Instead, England have thrown together a manager and coaching team at the last minute in the hope that decreased expectation levels will help The Three Lions perform well this summer.
There have been some positive moments under Hodgson so far with the two friendly matches ending in solid 1-0 victories. More of the same would be welcome against France on Monday evening.
In reality though, England need plenty of luck – and their top players to step up – if they are to get past a very impressive France side.
Blanc’s men are unsurprisingly the favourites for this one at 6/4, although England cannot be ruled out at 23/10. The draw might be a decent result for both teams and is available at 11/5.