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France v Scotland: Clarke expected to rotate for friendly

| 15.10.2023
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Scotland take on France in a friendly in Lille knowing they are going to Germany next summer.

Steve Clarke’s men qualified for their second successive Euros on Sunday night when Norway were defeated by Spain in Oslo.

Here we look at some of the talking points and France v Scotland betting odds for the match in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Approach to a friendly match

Given that Scotland have qualified for Germany next summer, Clarke will reshuffle his pack. However, after five straight wins in the qualifiers, the Scots have lost their last two matches, 2-0 to Spain in Seville and 3-1 to England at Hampden in the 150th anniversary heritage match.

Scotland have dropped behind Spain on goal difference but finishing top is still an ambition and he will not want to go into next month’s double-header against Georgia and Norway on the back of three defeats. In the France v Scotland betting odds, they are 29/10 to avoid defeat and 12/1 for a surprise win.

The goalkeeper situation

Norwich City’s Angus Gunn has established himself as number one following the injury to Craig Gordon. The other two keepers in the squad, Motherwell’s Liam Kelly and Zander Clark of Hearts, have yet to make an appearance.

This is a good opportunity to ensure one or both get some game time before going to Germany next summer. Will Clarke take it? Whoever is in goal, they will face a tough test and Coral have an Odds Booster of 9/2 for France to score in the first 10 minutes while the hosts are odds-on at 10/11 to score in both halves.

Full-back fall-out

Captain Andy Robertson picked up a shoulder injury against Spain and has gone back to Liverpool to get it assessed. Celtic’s Greg Taylor is a reliable replacement but when Robertson went off in Seville, Clarke moved right-back Aaron Hickey across to the other side of the pitch – where he was equally impressive notwithstanding his slip for Spain’s second goal – and brought on Nathan Patterson at right-back.

Hickey has been withdrawn and 19-year-old Max Johnston has been called up for the first time. Taylor will take over from Robertson but Johnston may get some game time.

Midfield is Scotland’s strongest area

Callum McGregor, John McGinn, and Scott McTominay have cemented their places in midfield. However, Clarke has several options should he wish to give any of them a rest against France.

Stuart Armstrong and Kenny McLean are experienced campaigners, while Billy Gilmour is the next generation along with Lewis Ferguson, who has impressed at Bologna. All four will be chomping at the bit to catch Clarke’s eye before the squad is picked for Germany.

Main striker

Clarke has tended to alternate between Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes for the main striker’s role. The latter got the nod against Spain in Seville and ran himself into the ground without getting any joy in terms of chances before being replaced by Adams, who missed a good opportunity to score.

However, the Southampton player could get his chance from the start against Lille and is 9/2 to get on the scoresheet in the France v Scotland betting odds or 11/1 to open the scoring.

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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Author

Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.