Kylian Mbappe is off to a quickfire start as France’s new captain —and Ireland are the next team in his sights in Monday’s Euro 2024 qualifier.
Les Bleus kicked off their qualifying campaign with a bang on Friday, delivering a clinical first half on the way to a 4-0 win over the Netherlands, with Mbappe setting up Antoine Griezmann’s early goal and then netting a double himself.
This is Ireland’s Group B opener, but Stephen Kenny’s men were in exhibition action on Wednesday, grabbing a 3-2 victory over Latvia as 18-year-old Evan Ferguson scored his first international goal. Facing a red-hot French side here presents a rather different challenge, however.
Check out our free Ireland vs France picks and predictions for the lowdown on this March 27 matchup.
Ireland vs France best odds
|Over 2.5 (-106)||Total||Under 2.5 (-118)|
Odds courtesy of bet365 as of March 25, 2023.
Ireland vs France picks and predictions
The rest of Europe got an early warning on Friday, as the French are coming for Euro 2024 glory. After coming agonizingly close to winning back-to-back World Cups, a star-studded France squad wasted no time in flexing their muscles while shredding a highly-rated Netherlands defense. It was 3-0 at halftime at the Stade de France and it could have been worse for the visitors.
That doesn’t bode well for Ireland’s chances of pulling off an upset on Monday. With France in dazzling form, I expect their pace and movement to be too much for the hosts here, even with the Irish likely to bring an organized defensive game plan.
Didier Deschamps picked Randal Kolo Muani to spearhead the French attack against the Dutch, with Mbappe and Kingsley Coman on either side of him. However, the visitors have a vast array of other scoring options, including forwards Olivier Giroud and Marcus Thuram.
But Mbappe is, of course, the main man — and captaincy seems to suit him just fine, with France moving on from reported tension stemming from Griezmann being passed over for the armband. Mbappe was electric on Friday, causing chaos down the left wing and cutting inside at will. While Ireland’s game plan will surely involve doubling up down the right to show him a sea of green jerseys, the French superstar is simply in unstoppable form with 19 goals in 24 league games for PSG this season.
I anticipate one-way traffic at Aviva Stadium on Monday — and I’ll be pairing the France moneyline with an anytime Mbappe goal.
My best bet: France moneyline + Kylian Mbape anytime goal (+140 at bet365)
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Ireland vs France side analysis
Unsurprisingly, France enter this Euro 2024 qualifier as a big road favorite, with Friday’s thumping of the Netherlands further strengthening their case. With just a little tinkering, Deschamps has injected even more speed into his starting line-up and a more direct style. The visitors may shuffle the pack here and tap into their enviable squad depth, but I expect another slick attacking performance.
The Irish are very comfortable with the underdog tag, but they’re overmatched in some key areas. Kenny picked Andrew Omobamidele, Nathan Collins, and Dara O’Shea as his back-three against Latvia, and it’s tough to see that trio faring any better than the Netherlands’ defense.
The more experienced John Egan may return to the Ireland defense on Monday, but right wing-back Seamus Coleman’s likely absence with a thigh injury is a big blow for the hosts, especially with the Mbappe matchup on that side of the field.
Backed by a full house at Aviva Stadium, Ireland will be no pushovers, especially if they can weather the early storm. However, there’s no getting around the fact that they’ve missed the past three major tournaments and haven’t appeared at a World Cup since 2002. It’s still largely a young team finding their way at the international level.
Ireland vs France Over/Under analysis
It’s easy to wonder how much damage France might do in Dublin after a four-goal clinic against the Dutch, but I don’t expect this to be the same kind of open contest. Ireland will be happy to sit back, trying to frustrate France with a 3-5-2 formation that easily shifts to 5-3-2 when defending deep to deny space in behind.
Despite putting three goals past Latvia in the midweek goalfest, Ireland have generally trended towards low-scoring scraps. They scored 11 goals in their eight qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and played two cagey friendlies back in November — a 2-1 loss to Norway and a 1-0 win over Malta.
Ferguson’s emergence at Brighton at least gives Ireland a brighter spark at that end of the field, but he’ll be in for a battle against a well-drilled French midfield featuring Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate.
Meanwhile, the visitors were clearly up for the Dutch game and eager to make a statement. With a quick turnaround after that Friday fixture, there’s a case to be made that France may be content with a gentler pace here, rather than chasing another big scoreline.
That makes the Under on 2.5 total goals worth a look.
Ireland vs France game info
|Location:||Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland|
|Date:||Monday, March 27, 2023|
|Time:||2:45 p.m. ET|
Ireland vs France key injuries
Ireland: Seamus Coleman RWB (Doubtful).
France: William Saliba CB (Out).
Ireland vs France weather
The Monday forecast calls for dry conditions in Dublin, with a light breeze and temperatures in the mid-40s.