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Euro Champ Qualifying | Group Stage
Nov 21, 2023 at 7.45pm UK
OPAP Arena
2 - 2
Bakasetas (56'), Ioannidis (61')
Bouchalakis (34'), Retsos (40'), Ioannidis (75')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Kolo (42'), Fofana (74')
Dembele (34'), Fofana (55'), Griezmann (90+2')

Preview: Greece vs. France - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Greece vs. France - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Euro Champ Qualifying clash between Greece and France, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

On the back of recording their biggest-ever win in history, France close out an impeccable Euro 2024 qualifying campaign when they travel to Athens to take on Greece on Tuesday night.

Les Bleus maintained their 100% record in Group B with a sensational 14-0 obliteration of Gibraltar on Saturday, while the Pirate Ship also emerged victorious from their most recent contest, overcoming New Zealand 2-0 in a friendly.

Match preview

With just over five-and-a-half thousand fans present at the Georgios Karamas Stadium for Greece's showdown with New Zealand in their most recent friendly, one could have been forgiven for believing that they were still living in COVID times had they switched the TV channel to Friday's exhibition contest.

Despite the total lack of atmosphere, Gus Poyet's side navigated their task with professionalism to run out 2-0 winners on home soil, as Giannis Konstantelias's cross firstly evaded everyone and nestling into the side of the net, before Georgios Giakoumakis bundled home the insurance goal just before the half-hour mark.

Before butting heads with New Zealand, Greece were still mathematically capable of usurping the Netherlands into the second and final automatic qualification spot in Group B, but with Oranje getting the better of the Republic of Ireland 1-0 over the weekend, Poyet's men have been consigned to a third-placed finish.

Nevertheless, Greece have already been confirmed as one of 12 playoff-competing nations as they bid to end a 12-year exile from the continent's premier tournament, having been knocked out of Euro 2012 in the quarter-finals before two failed qualifying ventures.

The 2004 European champions are ending the year as they mean to go on, having come up trumps in three of their last four matches in all tournaments - conceding only one goal in the process - and not since 2019 have they shipped multiple strikes in a home Euros qualifier.

Such defensive mettle may pale into insignificance if France's most recent display of attacking supremacy is anything to go by, though, as Didier Deschamps witnessed his merciless men hit Gibraltar for 14 at the Allianz Riviera on Saturday, setting a new national team record in the process.

Les Bleus had left quite a bit to be desired in a 3-0 beating of the perpetual whipping boys earlier in Group B, but even before Gibraltar went down to 10 men - Ethan Santos's horror tackle on Warren Zaire-Emery warranted a straight red card - Los Llanis were already lambs to the slaughter.

Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick, Kingsley Coman and Olivier Giroud's braces, Zaire-Emery's debut goal and Jonathan Clauss's thunderbolt were just a few highlights on an evening which also saw Youssouf Fofana, Ousmane Dembele, Marcus Thuram and Adrien Rabiot contribute to the Nice mauling, as well as Santos's third-minute own goal.

On account of their record-breaking drubbing, France - who were already confirmed to be finishing top of Group B anyway - have ensured a place in the coveted Pot 1 of the Euro 2024 group-stage draw, but pride is not the only thing on the line for Les Bleus this week, as they are out to end 2023 with a seventh successive away victory in Euros qualifying.

Greece's only competitive win against France to date came in their Euro 2004 quarter-final en route to the hosts' astounding run to continental glory, but Les Bleus have since posted back-to-back victories over the Pirate Ship, although only an Mbappe penalty could separate the two nations in June.

Greece Euro Champ Qualifying form:

Greece form (all competitions):

France Euro Champ Qualifying form:

France form (all competitions):

Read more!

Team News

Greece boss Poyet will be deprived of two of his starting midfielders from Friday night this week, as Petros Mantalos and Dimitrios Kourbelis both have one-game suspensions to serve after being cautioned for the third time in Group B against the Netherlands last month.

Andreas Bouchalakis and Dimitrios Pelkas should be drafted into the hosts' engine room in place of the banned pair, and Poyet's side emerged unscathed physically from their victory over New Zealand, meaning that the bulk of that starting XI should retain their places here.

Cardiff City's Manolis Siopis was a notable absentee from the matchday squad to take on New Zealand, though, as was his Bluebirds teammate Dimitrious Goutas, and it remains to be seen whether the pair will be given the green light to take on Les Bleus.

As for the visitors, their annihilation of Gibraltar was partially overshadowed by the injury to debutant and goalscorer Zaire-Emery, who was the victim of Santos's red card-worthy challenge as the ball left his foot for his inaugural France goal.

Deschamps does not believe that the Paris Saint-Germain protege has broken any bones, but a suspected sprain will almost certainly rule the 17-year-old out of Tuesday's affair, offering Fofana, Boubacar Kamara or Khephren Thuram hope of a start in the centre of the park.

With first place and a ball in Pot 1 already assured, multiple alterations can be expected from Deschamps, who may draft Jules Kounde, Lucas Hernandez, Brice Samba and Randal Kolo Muani into his final qualifying lineup.

Greece possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Baldock, Mavropanos, Retsos, Tsimikas; Bakasetas, Bouchalakis, Pelkas; Konstantelias, Giakoumakis, Masouras

France possible starting lineup:
Samba; Kounde, Saliba, Disasi, L. Hernandez; Fofana, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Kolo Muani

We say: Greece 0-2 France

Tuesday's contest may be a reality check of sorts for France, who will not carve open a defensively-sound Greece side in the same manner as they did against the 10 men of a beleaguered Gibraltar, and Poyet's men will have had an extra day to recover from their exertions.

The absence of two experienced lynchpins in Kourbelis and Mantalos is far from ideal for the Pirate Ship, though, and while changes are in the offing, we still expect France to close out a perfect qualification campaign with 24 points on the board.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Read more about Gus Poyet Giannis Konstantelias Georgios Giakoumakis Didier Deschamps Warren Zaire-Emery Ethan Santos Kingsley Coman Olivier Giroud Kylian Mbappe Adrien Rabiot Jonathan Clauss Marcus Thuram Youssouf Fofana Ousmane Dembele Dimitrios Kourbelis Petros Mantalos Dimitrios Pelkas Andreas Bouchalakis Manolis Siopis Boubacar Kamara Khephren Thuram Brice Samba Jules Kounde Lucas Hernandez Randal Kolo Muani Football
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