The draw for the Nations League group stage placed the France team in the same pool as Italy, Belgium and Israel.
Reading time: 2 min
After a disappointing campaign in 2022-2023, with a third place in the group against Croatia, Denmark and Austria, the Blues know their future opponents for the 2024-2025 edition of the Nations League. The draw, carried out on Thursday February 8, placed them in the group of Italy and Belgium, two of its best enemies, and Israel, which they have not faced for almost twenty years.
Italy in reconstruction
Absent from the last two World Cups, Italy narrowly qualified for the Euro, of which it is the defending champion. The Squadra Azzurra notably lost twice against England (2-1 and 3-1) during the qualifiers. Like her position as coach, occupied by Luciano Spalletti since the sudden departure of Roberto Mancini in the summer of 2023, she is experiencing a period of transition between two generations and is looking for a big scorer to replace Ciro Immobile. The Italians finished third in the last Nations League and their last match in official competition against the Blues dates back to 2008, in the group stage of the Euro, for an Italian victory (2-0). Since then, the two teams have faced each other three times in friendly matches, for three French victories.
Belgium could be the toughest opponent
The Blues will face Belgians who are still vengeful since their defeats in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the 2020-2021 Nations League. After the disillusionment of their elimination in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar, the Red Devils remained undefeated in 2023 under the leadership of a new coach, the Italian Domenico Tedesco. They finished at the top of their Euro qualifying group with very few goals conceded (four in eight games) and many scored (22). Results achieved in particular thanks to the presence in their ranks of figures who exploded in Ligue 1 before leaving for the best European clubs, such as the ex-Lensois Loïs Openda and the ex-Rennais Jérémy Doku, as well as its executives indestructible players like Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.
Israel, few benchmarks for the Blues
Israel is an opponent that the French team rarely encounters, since the last confrontation between the two nations dates back to March 2005, in the World Cup qualifiers (1-1). The Israelis are naturally the weakest team in the group, on paper. They were promoted to League A thanks to their first group place in League B, ahead of Iceland and Albania (Russia were disqualified). In the qualifying campaign for the next Euro, Israel will have to compete in play-offs to get their ticket, with a semi-final against Iceland in March. The Israelis played their last home matches in Hungary, due to the war with Hamas.