France are once again right back at the pinnacle of World football, despite their loss to Portugal in the Euro final, however, against Bulgaria, they will have to be weary as the Eastern Europeans have actually started the qualifiers brighter.
France will be very disappointed with their first World Cup qualifying match which saw them scrap to a 0-0 draw against Belarus. This point against a minnow team is not what they would have been hoping for especially considering the competition in their qualifying group. Netherlands and Sweden will both be breathing down the Euro finalists neck now.
For Bulgaria, they did indeed grab a win in their opening encounter, but it was only against lowly Luxembourg, who managed to get three goals of their own. In that seven goal thriller, Bulgaria needed a late winner from Aleksander Tonev to save their blushes.
Bulgaria are a good enough squad to cause a few upsets along the way, but their form and ability at the moment seems to be a little underpar. They will be up against a France team that will be hell bent mounting a charge in their group for the World Cup.
Bulgaria will be seen as a stepping stone for their bigger matches against Netherlands and Sweden especially. The French side under Didier Deschamps have struggled to see off relatively weaker opponents in the recent outings, especially going forwards as the Karim Benzema-shaped hole still has not been filled.
Antoine Griezmann and Anthony Martial have failed to become reliable sources of goals, but in the same breathe, Bulgaria get a little shy against such star names. During the Euro qualifiers, they managed just 1 point from 6 meetings against the stronger teams like Croatia, Norway and Italy.
On paper, the safe bet would always be with France, they are a class team with huge pedigree in their ranks. However, that does not mean instantly write off Bulgaria – if France do not fire, the Eastern Europeans definitely have one surprise result in them. Just to be safe though – look for a France 2-1 win.
My bet: Bulgaria+2.50 AH@ 1.75