Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifier between Andorra and France, including team news and predicted lineups.
France will be looking to bounce back from Saturday’s surprise 2-0 defeat in Turkey when they travel to Andorra for their fourth Euro 2020 qualification match on Tuesday night.
The defeat to Turkey means that Didier Deschamps‘s side are only second in Group H, but they will fancy their chances of running up a sizeable score against Andorra, who have only won once in the last two years.
Listed 134th in the FIFA rankings, it would be fair to say that it would be one of the all-time shocks in international football if Andorra managed to beat world champions France on Tuesday night.
Deschamps’s side might be coming into the match off the back of a disappointing defeat but it is difficult to imagine a scenario where Les Bleus do not return to winning ways in Group H.
Andorra have competed in every qualifying campaign for the European Championships and World Cup but have only ever won six matches. The fifth smallest UEFA country by population, Tricolors stand little chance of causing a stir in Group H, where they sit bottom after three matches.
That said, Andorra have only conceded six times in their three losses to Iceland, Albania and Moldova, suggesting that France will not be able to run up a cricket score on Tuesday night. Koldo‘s side have not actually won a single match since beating Liechtenstein in March 2018, which was their first victory since June 2017.
All but four of Andorra’s current 20-man squad actually play their club football in their home nation. Max Llovera, Marcio Vieira and Marc Garcia turn out in the Spanish lower leagues, while Marc Vales is contracted to Norwegian outfit Sandefjord.
It is a squad packed full of experience with the captain Ildefons Lima making 122 appearances for his country, while he is also the leading scorer in the current selection with 11 goals. Their next top scorer is 40-year-old Juli Sanchez with two, which is another indication of what France will be facing on Tuesday night.
On the other end of the age scale, Alex Martinez is just 20 and the forward is one of only six players in the current squad to have scored an international goal.
Andorra have not exactly been embarrassed in their three previous meetings with France, though, losing 2-0 and 1-0 when they locked horns during qualification for Euro 2004, before a 4-0 defeat in an international friendly back in 2004. Unfortunately, though, they will now be hosting a Les Bleus side with a point to prove.
Recent form: LLL
Recent form (all competitions): LDDLLL
First-half goals from Kaan Ayhan and Cengiz Under saw Turkey record a 2-0 win over France in Saturday night’s qualifier in Konya. It is difficult to call the result a shock when considering Turkey’s quality, but there is no question that Deschamps would have expected his side to collect something from their trip.
Olivier Giroud was back at the tip of the attack, having missed the win over Bolivia following his involvement for Chelsea in the Europa League final. Les Bleus did not manage a single shot on target, though, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba also having disappointing nights.
It is not exactly panic stations for the 2018 World Cup winners, though, as they are still in a decent position in the group. Indeed, victories over Moldova and Iceland have seen them gather six points, leaving them second, three points off Turkey with a lot of football still to play en route to Euro 2020.
Turkey face a tough trip to Iceland on Tuesday night while France are in Andorra and the strong possibility of a swing in goal difference means that Deschamps’s side could well top the section heading into their next qualifier at home to Albania at the start of September.
France have not actually won a European Championship title since 2000, falling at the quarter-final stage in 2004 and 2012, before finishing as runners-up to Portugal in Euro 2016.
The defeat to Turkey was a setback but will not define the world champions, who will certainly be considered as one of the favourites should they qualify for Euro 2020.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Deschamps responds in terms of team selection for this match. On the one hand, it could be a chance for the likes of Giroud to add a few goals, although Wissam Ben Yedder and Kingsley Coman will be amongst those eyeing starts for what should be a comfortable game.
As mentioned, France’s next qualifier after this one is at home to Albania on September 7, before hosting Andorra three days later. They then travel to Iceland on October 11 ahead of welcoming Turkey on October 14, which could turn out to be a defining fixture in Group H.
Recent form: WWL
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWWL
Andorra’s team will more than likely have a similar look to the one that started against Moldova.
Jordi Alaez started in a forward position last time out and that is again expected to be the case in this match, with Marcio Vieira potentially taking the other position in the final third.
Ludovic Clemente should also keep his spot in a wide area, although Aaron Sanchez is an option for Koldo, who will be desperate for his team to make a positive impression.
As for France, it is difficult to imagine that Deschamps will not make changes for this fixture.
As mentioned, Coman and Ben Yedder are just two of a number of players who could come into the XI, with Tanguy Ndombele, Thomas Lemar and Ferland Mendy also viable options.
Clement Lenglet could also make his first appearance for Deschamps’s side, while fellow uncapped Frenchman Mike Maignan could also be handed the opportunity to impress.
Andorra possible starting lineup:
Gomes; Rubio, Llovera, Lima, Moises; Cervos, Vales, Rebes, Clemente; Alaez, Vieira
France possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Pavard, Lenglet, Varane, Mendy; Ndombele, Pogba; Lemar, Griezmann, Coman; Ben Yedder
Head To Head
As mentioned, these two nations have locked horns on three previous occasions.
France ran out 4-0 winners when they last met in an international friendly in May 2004, in addition to recording 2-0 and 1-0 victories during qualification for Euro 2000.
We say: Andorra 0-5 France
France will be desperate to return to winning ways following the defeat in Turkey and will have far too much for Andorra. We expect the world champions to emerge victorious in extremely comfortable fashion.