These two teams have history considering that many a Republic of Ireland supporters will reflect on the Thierry Henry handball that prevented their team from qualifying for a previous major tournament. They will feel as they owe the French one, with Stephen Kenny’s side starting with a clean slate after finishing nowhere near the qualifying spots for the 2022 World Cup.

Kenny will hope that his modest group of players can produce a respectable performance and many of the squad do operate in the Championship or League One rather than the Premier League. Captain Seamus Coleman will provide plenty of experience although a lack of goals in the team highlights that we might not see the Republic creating too many chances.

Conversely, the French squad looks strong and there haven’t been too many notable withdrawals. Naturally, Mbappe takes a lot of the limelight and he’s well on his way to scoring fifty goals for Les Bleus, while the evergreen Olivier Giroud continues up top and the Milan forward is someone who could thrive against the opposition physical approach.

Aurélien Tchouaméni continues to be a star midfielder for Real Madrid and the same applies to Eduardo Camavinga, although Raphael Varane’s retirement means that the defence might be prone to the odd creak. We will also see no Hugo Lloris between the sticks and perhaps this might lead to the Republic getting a few sniffs of goal even though their task is a tall one.


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