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France vs Italy betting tips: Under-21 Euros preview, predictions, team news and odds

France vs Italy: Head to head statistics

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France vs Italy match preview

France are amongst the favourites to win this under-21 European Championships before a ball is kicked, so will they live up to this potential?

Somewhat surprisingly, les Bleuets have only ever won this tournament once, achieving this in 1988, doing so with Éric Cantona as their star player back then.

In more recent times, France were semi-finalists in 2019 and reached the quarter-finals two summers ago, ousted by Spain and Netherlands respectively.

To get to this year’s edition, Sylvain Ripoll’s team cruised through qualification unbeaten and won 1-0 against Mexico in a friendly at Stade des Alpes less than a week ago.

Thus, many are predicted big things for les Espoirs this year, so will they avoid an opening night slip up in Cluj-Napoca?

Italy meantime are five-times winners of this trophy, a joint-record, although the most-recent of these triumphs came 19 years ago.

Two summers ago, Italy were ousted by Portugal at the quarter-final stage, beaten 5-3 after extra time in Ljubljana.

Paolo Nicolato’s team qualified this time round with a final matchday victory over Republic of Ireland in Ascoli Piceno 12 months ago, subsequently beating Serbia and Ukraine in friendlies earlier this year.

So, after Italy’s U20s reached the final of the World Cup earlier this year, beaten 1-0 by Uruguay, can their U21s go one better at this tournament?

Will either kick off their Group D campaign with a win at Cluj Arena?

France team news

France’s team will feature many familiar faces and highly-rated prospects.

Leeds’ Illan Meslier will be in goal, while Michael Olise of Crystal Palace has chosen to represent les Bleuets; he’s also eligible for England, Nigeria and Algeria.

Loïc Badé, who started Sevilla’s Europa League Final win over Roma last month, will be in defence, alongside Pierre Kalulu of A.C. Milan.

Rayan Cherki, who could be on the move from Lyon, will be hoping to showcase his talents, while Amine Gouiri has scored 11 goals in 24 appearances at U21 level.

Italy team news

All of Paolo Nicolato’s team are based domestically, with one notable exception.

This is Leeds United’s Wilfried Gnonto, who became Italy’s youngest-ever senior scorer, aged 18 years 222 days, by netting against Germany in the UEFA Nations League last June.

Captain Sandro Tonali actually has 14 caps at senior level, three more than he does for the U21s.

Under-21 Euros Group D table

Under-21 Euros Group D results and fixtures

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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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