Fresh from playing in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Morocco, African champions Ivory Coast face the challenge of France in an international friendly at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens on Tuesday night, kick-off at 22h00 CAT.
The Elephants were held to a goalless draw in their Group C qualifier in Marrakech against Morocco, a result which leaves them top of the standings and in a good position to go on and qualify for a fourth successive World Cup.
« We knew that the match was going to be tight,” said Ivory Coast coach Michel Dussuyer, who will be looking to rotate his players after the demanding match on Saturday.
“I have full confidence in those players who have replaced the injured, I always think young and I want to give them a chance and see what they can do. I can only be satisfied with their performance. »
As for ‘Les Bleus’, they come into the game fresh from a 2-1 win over Sweden in their own World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday night.
The result sees France topping their group, but they did suffer a blow with the news that forward Antoine Griezmann picked up an injury which rules him out of this clash against Ivory Coast – though he may have been rested anyway.
« He’s not doing so well, » declared Deschamps. « His foot is really swollen – he got stepped on pretty hard. »
The France coach has plenty of other options in attack, where he can choose from the likes of Kévin Gameiro, Borussia Dortmund sensation Ousmane Dembélé, Nabil Fekir and international rookie Thomas Lemar.
France and Ivory Coast have met in just one previous international match according to FIFA’s statistics. That clash took place in Montpellier in 2005 and saw ‘Les Bleus’ claim an emphatic 3-0 win.