WORLD champions France commence their World Cup defence with a match at home to Ukraine.
The French have been in excellent form recently, winning their Nations League group as they look to add to their collection of silverware.
But visitors Ukraine have proven themselves capable of springing a surprise or two with wins over Spain and Portugal in the past two years.
What time does France vs Ukraine kick off?
- France take on Ukraine on Wednesday, March 24.
- The match kicks off at 7.45pm UK time – 8.45pm in France and 9.45pm in Ukraine.
- It will be played at the Stade de France.
- The two sides last met just five months ago with France running riot in a 7-1 friendly win.
What TV channel is France vs Ukraine on and can I live stream it?
- France vs Ukraine is live on Sky Sports Premier League.
- Coverage commences at 7.40pm – five minutes before kick-off.
- To stream the game live, head to the Sky Go app.
- Non-Sky Sports subscribers can still watch all the action live with a Now TV Day Pass from £9.99.
Didier Deschamps has gone with a tried and tested formula with his entire squad having been capped by France before.
Olivier Giroud and Anthony Martial are favourites for spots up front after Kylian Mbappe was substituted for PSG against Lyon with a minor injury.
Victor Tsygankov scored for Ukraine in their 7-1 defeat against the French in October but misses this one through injury.
Taras Stepanenko also misses out with a muscle problem but Andriy Yarmolenko has overcome injury to make the cut.
*Odds from Ladbrokes correct as of Monday, March 22.
- James Orr
VARANE ON TONIGHT
“On this rally, we have three matches in seven days, including one on Wednesday. It is not easy with travel, especially a fairly long distance.
“It's a matter of adaptation, but you can't play with the handbrake or with the risk of injury in mind. You have to give your all and be efficient. The coach manages the playing time, he knows the state of physical form of each player.
“We have to give the maximum in the field. Ukraine? We hope to win, we want to start as well as possible.”
- James Orr
FRANCE V UKRAINE
- James Orr
Welcome to our live blog of France v Ukraine
France take their first step toward defending their World Cup crown tonight, the world champions welcome Ukraine to Stade de France in their opening qualification match in Group D.
Ukraine are bidding to qualify for the finals for the first time since 2006.
The French won the last meeting between the two countries 7-1 in a friendly last October.
On loan Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has earned a recall to the France team after a solid season for the Cottagers.
However, first choice stopper Hugo Lloris is in no danger of losing his place and needs just three more caps to go level with Thierry Henry in their all-time appearance standings.
Paul Pogba is expected to start after recently recovering from a thigh injury.
Olivier Giroud and Anthony Martial are set to start up front; after Kylian Mbappe came off with a minor problem during Paris-Saint Germain’s 4-2 victory at Lyon on Sunday.
Ukraine should line up with their usual 4-3-3 formation, veteran goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov is set to earn his 97th cap tonight.
Viktor Tsygankov misses out due to injury and Taras Stepanenko is also out with a muscle problem.
West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko who is second behind manager Andriy Shevchenko in Ukraine’s all time goal-scoring charts is unlikely to be risked after recently returning from injury.
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