Football

France v England: Match Preview

Benzema & Gerrard could be key for France & England. (©GettyImages)
Benzema & Gerrard could be key for France & England. (©GettyImages).

France v England; Euro 2012 Group D; Donbass Arena, Ukraine; 1700 KO


Team News

French boss Laurent Blanc has a settled 4-2-3-1 line-up, with Karim Benzema expected to lead the line on his own.

Premier League stars Samir Nasri, Florent Malouda and Yohan Cabaye are all expected to feature in midfield, whilst Patrice Evra is fighting a lack of form, as well as Gael Clichy, for a starting spot.

The big news in England is that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to start for the Three Lions, with Roy Hodgson taking a gamble on the young England starlet.

That could see Stewart Downing miss out, whilst Theo Walcott is also expected to be amongst the substitutes. Danny Welbeck is tipped to start up-front on his own, with Wayne Rooney suspended.


Hodgson braced for French test


 

England boss Roy Hodgson expects a tough opener in Euro 2012 Group D, but insists the Three Lions have nothing to fear against France.

 

Laurent Blanc’s side are one of the pre-tournament favourites in Poland & Ukraine, having gone 21-games unbeaten in the build-up to the competition.

However, the former West Bromwich Albion boss insists confidence is high within the camp, and that whilst Les Bleus have the respect of his players, they won’t be giving them anything on the pitch in Donetsk.

"The players think we can beat France. There's no question about that. There's no fear in that respect,” said Hodgson pre-match.

"There's healthy respect for the team, as they deserve to have. We know their players and their qualities. We come across them every week and you just respect someone if you go 21 matches unbeaten.”

Former Manchester United defender Blanc is expecting a defensive challenge against England at the Donbass Arena.

He’s vowed to be adventurous in search of victory though, and will be looking to get the campaign off to a flyer in Ukraine.

“We’ve watched their last two friendly games. We didn’t learn they were very committed — we knew that — but if they play in the same way they’ll drop back, have a bank of four with some quick players, and try and hit us on the break,” he told the watching media.

“I think he’ll (Hodgson) try and play in the same way in the hope they understand what he wants from them, individually and collectively. There will be two very different footballing philosophies on show.”

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