GIVEN the contrasting states in which both teams enter the match, it seems odd that France are as big as 6/4 at William Hill to come out on top as they face England in the pair’s opening Euro 2012 fixture in Donetsk on Monday.
BetVictor’s 12/5 outsiders England are shorn of the suspended Wayne Rooney as well as injured trio Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill and while Roy Hodgson’s men have won their two warm-up games, against Norway and Belgium, they can hardly boast anything the like the form of France, unbeaten in 21.
England might struggle to make a flying start in Group D then and indeed, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that a draw, at 11/5 (Coral) is the best they can hope for.
When pushing patriotism aside, it’s easy to see the patched-up Three Lions losing a tight encounter by a one-goal margin, an outcome Ladbrokes quote at 10/3.
Without Rooney, England might struggle to score and punters could do worse than consider Skybet’s massive 3/1 for Laurent Blanc’s buoyant side to win ‘to nil’.
Alternatively, Betfred quote the French at an alluring 11/2 to grab the game’s only goal and bet365 make Les Bleus 9/2 to emerge victorious only after the two teams have played out an even first half.
Of course some punters might believe that the lowered expectations surrounding the England squad could work in their favour and with that in mind, supporters on these shores may wish to tackle Stan James’ 7/2 for Hodgson’s troops to nick it by one.
More specifically, Paddy Power price the Three Lions at 11/1 to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.
In attack, Karim Benzema, who bagged a brace in France’s 4-0 friendly success against Estonia on Tuesday, is Skybet’s 11/2 favourite to fire the opening goal and he’s a tempting 2/1 (Paddy Power) to strike at any stage.
At the other end Andy Carroll is 8/1 (BetVictor) to break the deadlock.