A new report from ESPN and Fox Sports suggests the France side will face an uphill battle to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Russia.
Italy have won the last four World Cup qualifying matches, while France have lost the last five.
Italy were beaten 2-1 by France in the opening game of the group stage in Brazil in May, and lost 1-0 to Argentina in the second round of qualifying in Argentina in June.
They then beat Belgium in the quarter-finals, but suffered a 2-0 defeat by Germany in the semi-finals.ESPN’s Soccer Nation analyst and former Italy and France coach Gianluigi Buffon believes the country’s struggles in Brazil could be a major reason for France’s poor qualifying form.
“I think France’s problems are because of their performance in Brazil.
They didn’t get a lot of points and they’re not in the tournament,” Buffon told SportItalia.
“If you compare the results of the first two matches, you see that France have conceded fewer goals than Italy.
I think they’re doing the same as Belgium.”
The French have now lost all four of their World Cup qualifiers, and they’ve lost four of five games against Italy.
“France has a poor record against Italy, and I’m sure it’s a result of that,” Buffo added.
“It’s a difficult World Cup and it will take a lot to get there.
But we have a good team with a good coach.
I don’t think the World Cup is the reason, but I do think the coach is the cause.”© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.