World Champions France continue their march towards back to back international honours with a Switzerland team standing in their way. France topped the group of death despite draws with Portugal and surprisingly Hungary, and are yet to really catch fire at this years tournament. Switzerland scraped through in 3rd place in their group behind Wales and Italy and will have to cause a monumental shock if they are to extend their stay at this years tournament.
In their three group games France scored 4 goals, conceded 3, had 30 shots with 10 on target, they had an average possession of 52.66%, were given 5 yellow cards, no red cards and took 7 corners.
Switzerland in their group games scored 4 goals, conceded 5, had 47 shots with 15 on target, they had an average possession of 55.66%, were given 5 yellow cards, no red cards and took 22 corners.
The bookmakers (All prices taken from Skybet) have France as the 2/9 favourites to go through, with Switzerland at 3/1 to see the quarter finals. France are 11/20 to win inside normal time, with Switzerland 11/2 to win inside 90 minutes and a draw is 14/5.
The referee for this game is Fernando Rapallini (Argentina), who this season has taken charge of 18 games, giving 114 yellow cards and 5 red cards, for an average of 6.33 yellow cards per game and 0.28 red cards per game. In his career to date he has refereed 97 games, giving out 542 yellow cards and 32 red cards, an average of 5.59 yellow cards per game and 0.33 red cards per game.
I feel the odds on France are slightly generous here. Switzerland looked good at times in their group games but this is a France side who have just topped a group with Germany, Portugal and an inspired Hungary side, and they have done it without coming out of second gear. The truth is I think a similar standard to what they showed in their group stage games will do the job for France here, but if they raise their game to the levels we know they can then it will be a long afternoon for Switzerland. Switzerland have some classy players themselves with the likes of Xhaka and Shaqiri, but the French squad is stacked and a midfield of Pogba and Kante, with Griezmann having a ridiculously high work rate and seemingly playing every position on the pitch right now, should allow this French side to control possession and if they do that, its only a matter of time before they break the Swiss defence. Karim Benzema has added another attacking threat to this French side, with his aerial ability and deadly finishing a slightly different tool from the pure pace Mbappe offers. In the group stage games I was surpised by how often Mbappe found space in the box and got his head to the ball, I feel this is partly due to Benzema and him taking defenders attention away from Mbappe. If France score one goal, that for me could easily be game over. Switzerland will have to press forward and look for an equaliser and when they do France will punish them on the counter. I feel France come out easily on top with a pretty routine 3-0 win as they progress to the quarter finals.
The best bets in this game are (All prices taken from Skybet)
France to score 3+ goals – 11/4
Mbappe and Benzema both to score a goal assisted by Pogba – 100/1 (We advise waiting for starting line ups to be released before backing this bet)
Mbappe to score a header and France to win – 50/1 (We advise waiting for starting line ups to be released before backing this bet)