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Talking points: France v Republic of Ireland

France team reporter David Crossan looks at the omens for the hosts' last-16 tie with the Republic of Ireland, with Laurent Koscielny and Didier Deschamps likely to be key figures.

France coach Didier Deschamps (left) with striker Antoine Griezmann
France coach Didier Deschamps (left) with striker Antoine Griezmann ©Getty Images

Rested and relaxed
Both sides will be grateful that the temperature is predicted to be around 24C at kick-off on Sunday afternoon, rather than the 30+ spike recorded on Thursday. That said, France's extra three days' recovery time ought to be beneficial.

The hosts have finished games strongly, scoring late to win against Romania and Albania, while the Republic of Ireland's energy-sapping heroics against Italy on Wednesday could tell come the latter stages in Lyon. Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps said: "Obviously it's not a disadvantage. We're confident and relaxed, and being relaxed is important."

Koscielny v Long
Laurent Koscielny has had a fine tournament, though the presence of Shane Long in the opposition ranks may evoke bad memories for the Arsenal centre-half. Long gave Koscielny a torrid time last December, netting twice as Southampton beat the Gunners 4-0.

Ireland would be well advised to use Long's pace in behind Koscielny and Adil Rami, both of whom are a booking away from suspension. Koscielny is now France's key defender, having left behind the days when Deschamps said he conceded too many penalties at club and international levels. "He's a very, very good defender in the way he anticipates things and in challenging for the ball," explained the coach.

There is no 'i' in team, but there is a 'champ' in Deschamps. Put simply, the 47-year-old is a winner. The former midfielder lives for these big matches, saying to me on Saturday: "If I'm speaking to you it's a good thing, because it means there's a match tomorrow."

When the UEFA EURO 2000 champion talks, the players listen, respecting his long list of trophies accumulated as player and coach. His substitutions have worked well so far, so expect him to unleash the seriously quick Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial when Irish legs tire.

Antoine Griezmann will hope this last-16 tie doesn't go to penalties after his UEFA Champions League final heartbreak with Atlético Madrid last month. Griezmann crashed a penalty off the bar in normal time, then his gutsy shoot-out effort was in vain as Atlético fell to their city rivals.

Les Bleus have not been practising penalties. Deschamps noted: "I don't think it's a very useful thing to do. I have players who are used to taking them for their clubs. There's a big difference between taking a penalty when there's nobody there, and taking one when you're tired at the end of the game in front of a full stadium."

Both camps insist that their last meeting, the play-off for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will have no impact come 15:00 on Sunday. Of the likely French starters, only full-backs Patrice Evra and Bacary Sagna, and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris began the 1-1 second-leg draw in Saint-Denis six and a half years ago. Lloris told EURO2016.com: "It belongs in the past. We want to perform against Ireland and to qualify for the next round."