France vs. Sweden: World Cup 2018 Qualifying Live Stream, Preview

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2016

Netherlands v France -  FIFA World Cup group A -  2016/2017 -  Antoine Griezmann of France during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Netherlands and France at the Amsterdam Arena on October 10, 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlandsduring the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Netherlands and France at the Amsterdam Arena on October 10, 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

France and Sweden will go head-to-head in Group A's only qualifier for the 2018 FIFA World Cup played on Friday, pitting the two undefeated group leaders against each other for the first time.

The two teams enter the contest with two wins and a draw, as well as the same goal difference. With so little separating France and Sweden, Friday's clash will be pivotal with an eye on the Group A hierarchy.

Here's everything you need to know about the match.

       

Date: Friday, November 11

Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis, Paris

TV Info: Sky Sports 3 (UK), ESPN 2 (U.S.)

Live Stream: Sky Sports Go, WatchESPN

      

Preview

Les Bleus enter Friday's match as the clear favourites to win Group A, and a victory over the Swedes would be a major step in the right direction. With the Netherlands in third place and already down by three points, Sweden are France's main threat right now.

On paper, France have a clear advantage in talent, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro all part of the squad. Manager Didier Deschamps could even afford to leave players such as Hatem Ben Arfa and Anthony Martial at home, explaining the Manchester United man needs to get back to his best, per Goal's Harry West:

I think that his coach [Jose Mourinho] expects more from him, me too.

I don't forget what he can do, what he did. It's up to him to work and get back to his best level. Yes, he's playing a lot less. It can happen.

It's kind of the same situation for Kingsley [Coman], they are young players who lived some things very early, they have many qualities obviously.

Les Bleus bounced back from the draw against Belarus with wins over the Netherlands and Bulgaria, and the same is expected at the Stade de France. Sweden held the Netherlands to a draw, but they've been far less convincing in their wins.

The Swedes were thoroughly disappointing during UEFA Euro 2016 and entered a new era upon the conclusion of the tournament, with Manchester United ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic retiring from the national team.

SOLNA, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 10: Viktor Nilsson Lindelof of Sweden celebrates after scoring to 3-0 during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Sweden and Bulgaria at Friends Arena on October 10, 2016 in Solna, Sweden. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrell
Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

Without the former Paris Saint-Germain star and fellow veteran Andreas Isaksson, who also stepped down this summer, the side has been forced to find a new identity. So far, the results have been mixed.

Victor Lindelof is the big star in defence, and the Benfica man has been in solid form of late. The team is built around discipline and tactics, rather than individual brilliance.

Per Robin Bairner of Goal, individual quality is something Les Bleus don't lack:

France have their weaknesses, however. Les Bleus can physically overpower opponents, but they can also lose focus against smaller teams and rely too much on spells of dominance to make the difference.

Belarus used this tactic against them, limiting space and hitting Les Bleus on the counter with enough frequency to keep them honest. During Euro 2016, several teams used the same tactics, and both Albania and Romania held out for quite long before ultimately losing.

Netherlands v France -  FIFA World Cup group A -  2016/2017 -  Paul Pogba of France (m) scored during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Netherlands and France at the Amsterdam Arena on October 10, 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlandsduring th
VI-Images/Getty Images

In Isaac Kiese Thelin, the Swedes have a forward who could keep France's defence honest, and if John Guidetti is at his best, Sweden could spring a surprise.

It's not likely, however―France have an impressive amount of raw quality in their squad, and, usually, that's enough.

Prediction: France 2-0 Sweden  

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