With the possibility of securing this Saturday, October 7, the vacancy for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, France faces Bulgaria. The match is part of the schedule of the ninth (penultimate) round of the European qualifiers. It will be held from 15:45 (Brasília time) at the Nationalen Stadion Vasil Levski in Sofia.
Recent performance in Bulgaria
The Bulgarians can still dream of a place in the World Cup. With 12 points (four wins and four defeats) they are fourth in Group A. To keep their hopes they need to beat the French and Luxembourg, whom they face away from home on Tuesday 10 October on the day of number ten.
Although the victories are obligatory to keep Bulgaria in the fight, they are not enough. The team still needs a combination of results to be able to stamp their passport to Russia.
The key only grants direct vacancy to the first place. To reach that position, the Bulgarians will need to hope that France will only tie in the final round with Belarus at home; so that Sweden do not add more than two points against Luxembourg (home) on Saturday and the Netherlands (away) on the last day and that the Netherlands will not win the two remaining matches. A of this Saturday will be against the Belarussians. In practice, it is a combination of results that is practically impossible.
Plan B would be to take second place and try their luck at recap. Even for this goal the Bulgarian possibilities are small. In addition to winning both games, the Bulgaria team must turn against Sweden and the Netherlands. The Swedes can not make more than two points in the games that are lacking and the Dutch need to stumble at least once. Anyway, the reality is that Bulgaria can even think about preparing for the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
The current form of France
The French lost a great opportunity to leave their place well on the way to draw, without goals, with Luxembourg, at home, in the eighth round. With 17 points (five wins, two draws and one defeat), they kept the lead singly, but to ensure they qualify with a round of anticipation they will need to beat the Bulgarians and hope Sweden do not win Luxembourg.
In this way, the most likely is that France have to postpone qualifying for the tenth and final round when they will face Belarus, already eliminated, at home.
To reach the goal, coach Didier Deschamps will not be able to count on one of his most important players. Paul Pogba, from Manchester United, injured, can not be called for the final double round of the qualifiers.
However, two other players who were out of the previous call due to injury returned to the group. They are Real Madrid midfielder Varane and Olympique de Marseille midfielder and striker Payet.
History of the matches between Bulgaria and France
The French won nine of the games against the Bulgarians throughout history. Bulgaria won eight times and there were four equal. In the first round of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup Russia France thrashed by 4 to 1.
Quotes delayed, except where indicated otherwise.
Bulgaria have promoted surprises throughout the qualifying campaign. The fact of still having chances of classification, although remote, remaining two rounds to the end is one of them. However, the French are favorites and the best guessing option for the confrontation.