Coming off four straight losses, the Serbian national team faces another tough challenge in the form of France. The French have not lost in 19 consecutive matches, dating back to September 2010, and have showed noted improvement under the leadership of Laurent Blanc.
Under the new head coach, France will look to sharpen its game after struggling to beat Iceland in a recent match. Blanc has been praised for the changes he has made in the team and the ensuing results—including victories over Brazil, Germany and England, as well as the United States—in the last year.
Where: Stade Auguste Delaune, Reims
When: May 31, 2012 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
France and Serbia met in a 2010 World Cup qualifier, a match that France won 2-1. Striker Thierry Henry netted one of the two goals, with the other courtesy of Nicolas Anelka. It should be noted that this match took place before Blanc assumed head coaching duties. Les Bleus have lost only once under Blanc—in his first game as coach—to Belarus. Since that loss, France has not lost in nineteen straight.
Serbia has been blanked in three of their last five matchups, including losses to Honduras, Mexico and Spain. The team has been in limbo lately, with recently appointed manager Sinisa Mihajlovic cutting star midfielder Adem Ljajic after he refused to sing the national anthem before an eventual defeat at the hands of Spain. Ljajic, who players club football for Fiorentina, has been suspended by the team and will not be a factor in this matchup.
Prior to this run-in, former Fiorentina boss Delio Rossi punched Ljajic in the face after he mocked him by clapping enthusiastically when the Italian chose to substitute him. Delio Rossi was dismissed following this incident.
Can Serbia Score?
The Serbian national team has scored only 23 international goals, and six of those came from captain Branislov Ivanovic. Going up against France, a team that has allowed just five goals in their last eight matches, does not help those odds.
Serbia has won just one of their last six international matches, giving France the opportunity to run their streak to an impressive 20 straight on Wednesday afternoon.
Prediction: France wins 3-0
These two teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum heading into today's matchup. France is riding the high of an impressive streak under new head coach Laurent Blanc, while Serbia is struggling with internal conflicts and a lack of offense as of late. All signs point to the French streak reaching 20 today.
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