Anyone who has backed Howard Wilkinson to be the next permanent England manager will be hoping for a convincing win for the hosts - any bookmaker allowing punters to back England to win and Wilkinson to be next England manager in a double is offering good value because they are surely related contingencies - but anyone who has backed any of the other candidates, might be feeling less patriotic.
France, holding the huge host's advantage that England, Germany and Argentina have all exploited to such telling effect in 1966, 1974 and 1978, won that most open of World Cup finals last summer through outstanding defence and superior possession in midfield. Against all but the most moderate of opponents, the French strikers posed little goal threat.
France have not cut much ice so far in their subsequent European Nations Cup qualifying games and there is every reason to suppose that England's defence, although hardly the most solid on the planet, can nevertheless withstand the impotent Gallic attack while, simultaneously the likes of Alan Shearer and Andy Cole fail to trouble the outstanding French defence.
C H L T
England 11-8 11-8 6-4 11-8
draw 15-8 15-8 15-8 9-5
France 15-8 15-8 13-8 15-8
C Coral, H William Hill, L Ladbrokes, T ToteReuse content