Bosnia-Herzegovina VS France, predict a routine win for the reigning world champions

Match Time:4/1/2021 02:45 Thursday  (GMT+8)

FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) --  Bosnia-Herzegovina   VS   France

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Bosnia-Herzegovina are fighting an uphill battle to end a 10-game winless run when they welcome reigning world champions France to Sarajevo for their second match of World Cup Qualifying in Group D.


The hosts' inaugural game of qualification saw them play out a 2-2 draw with Finland, while France saw off Kazakhstan 2-0 to claim their first three points in Group D last time out.


Match preview

On his 99th appearance for the national team, Bosnia's Miralem Pjanic missed a penalty before tapping home the rebound after 55 minutes against Finland, but the Nordic nation soon turned the game on its head as Teemu Pukki's brace seemed set to condemn Bosnia to their fifth defeat in a row last Wednesday.


However, Miroslav Stevanovic ensured that his side would be walking away with a share of the spoils as he equalised with 84 minutes on the clock, but Bosnia's qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022 nevertheless got off to an underwhelming start as their winless streak continued.


Slaven Musa's side were then given a night off from Group D action as they took on Costa Rica in a friendly on Saturday, but a goalless stalemate with the Central American nation saw their barren run stretch to 10 matches since a 3-0 win over Liechtenstein in 2019 - losing six and drawing four since then.


Amid his tumultuous season with Roma, top scorer and most-capped player Edin Dzeko has been unable to inspire Bosnia's attacking line - who have found the back of the net just three times in their last seven matches - although the 35-year-old did miss their three matches in November after contracting coronavirus.


Dzeko finding his shooting boots would be a good start for Bosnia in their attempts to finally register a long-awaited win, but they are already a step behind their rivals in the race for a top-two finish in Grop D and are expected to fall further off the pace when the World Cup holders pay a visit to the capital this week.


At a time where Barcelona are reportedly trying to tie him down to a new contract, Ousmane Dembele displayed his capabilities against Kazakhstan with the opening goal in a 2-0 win for the world champions on Sunday afternoon.


The 23-year-old lashed home in the 19th minute before an unfortunate own goal from Sergey Maliy compounded Kazakhstan's misery on their own turf, although 39-year-old goalkeeper Aleksandr Mokin had a moment to remember as he produced an excellent save to deny Kylian Mbappe from the penalty spot.


However, Mbappe's miss from 12 yards proved inconsequential on the day as Didier Deschamps's side kickstarted their road to Qatar at the second attempt, and their win in Kazakhstan propelled them to the top of the rankings over Finland, who also could not get the better of Ukraine at the weekend.


Les Bleus face another tough assignment this week, but they have lost just one of their last 17 matches across all competitions - winning 13 of them - and their triumph at the Astana Arena represented a seventh away win on the trot for France, who have also shipped a mere one goal on unfamiliar territory in that time.


Furthermore, Bosnia have failed to beat France in their four games against them since 2004 - drawing two and losing two against Les Bleus - and the visitors' most recent visit to the Balkan nation saw Karim Benzema and Florent Malouda score in a 2-0 triumph back in 2010.


Bosnia-Herzegovina World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:D

Bosnia-Herzegovina form (all competitions):LLLLDD

France World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:DW

France form (all competitions):WLWWDW


Team News

Pjanic will make history this week as only the second player to hit 100 caps for his country - only behind Dzeko - and the two will be among a raft of changes that the hosts are expected to make for this crunch match.


However, manager Ivaylo Petev will miss the game after returning a positive coronavirus test, so former Under-19s boss Musa is set to continue on the touchline for now.


Ermedin Demirovic has returned to Freiburg and will play no part in this game, but the likes of Amer Gojak, Rade Krunic, Gojko Cimirot and Eldar Civic should all return to the first XI.


One dampening aspect of France's win at the weekend was Anthony Martial's injury, as the Manchester United man appeared to jar his knee after getting his studs caught in the artificial turf, so he is unlikely to make the starting lineup again.


Mbappe and Olivier Giroud should both earn recalls to the team this week, but Paul Pogba may not be ready for another start so soon after lasting an hour at the Astana Arena, so Adrien Rabiot is in line to partner Tanguy Ndombele in the middle after N'Golo Kante withdrew through injury.


A complete reshuffle of the back four could see Deschamps recall Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Presnel Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez, as Leo Dubois, Clement Lenglet, Kurt Zouma and Lucas Digne make way.


Bosnia-Herzegovina possible starting lineup:

Sehic; Todorovic, Sanicanin, Hadzikadunic, Civic; Pjanic, Cimirot; Stevanovic; Gojak, Krunic; Dzeko


France possible starting lineup:

Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez; Ndombele, Rabiot; Coman, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud


Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-2 France


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