Germany & France cruising towards Euro 2012

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With the European Championships just a week away, France and Germany continued their warm-up preparations with routine victories.

Germany travel to Ukraine and Poland after a flawless qualifying campaign, during which they won all 10 games, scoring 34 goals. But the three-time European champions have been less convincing in their warm-up matches, losing to Switzerland before eventually seeing off Israel in last night's match.

They recovered from their shock 5-3 defeat to the Swiss to beat Israel 2-0 in Leipzig, but they were made to work hard for the win. Goals from Mario Gomez and Andre Schurrle gave the Germans the victory, but Joachim Low will be concerned his side are yet to find their best form.

Germany dominated the match, restricting Israel to a single shot on target in a much improved defensive performance. But going forward, the Euro 2008 finalists were lethargic, and lacking the energy which has come to be associated with the vibrant, young German side.

The Euro 2008 runners-up wasted a number of chances on a rainy night at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, and Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller both went close, before Gomez opened the scoring just before half-time with a powerful finish. Low's side were made to wait until the 80th minute to wrap up the tie, when Bayer Leverkusen forward Schurrle cut in from the left wing to smash home an excellent 25-yard strike into the top corner.

Having fielded an experimental side against Switzerland, Low opted for a team more likely to play Portugal in Germany's opening group game on June 9. Toni Kroos deputised for his Bayern Munich teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger in the middle of midfield, while Philipp Lahm switched to left back.

New Arsenal signing Lukas Podolski also started, while Low paired Per Mertesacker and Holger Badstuber in the middle of the back four. Despite the performance, the Germany boss will be happy to have avoided a third consecutive defeat, after suffering losses to the Swiss and Laurent Blanc's France earlier this year.

Blanc's side were also in action last night, and after labouring to a 3-2 win over Iceland in their previous friendly, France put on a much-improved performance against Serbia. First-half goals from Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda made light work of the opposition, but French preparations were overshadowed by an injury to highly-rated midfielder Yann M'vila after just four minutes. The Rennes midfielder limped off after turning his ankle, and is a doubt for the tournament.

The 21-year-old M'Vila has 19 caps for his country, and has been an ever-present under Blanc. But aside from injury, the French coach can be pleased with his side's performance, especially during a free-flowing first-half.

Blanc opted for a line-up not too far off what England can expect to face in their opening group game, and Samir Nasri combined well with Karim Benzema during an encouraging first period. Alou Diarra and Yohan Cabaye held the midfield, and should M'Vila miss out, both would be expected to start against Roy Hodgson's side.

The Euro 2000 champions still have one final warm-up match to come, Blanc's side face Estonia on Tuesday night, before they travel to Ukraine in preparation for their June 11 match against England.

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