As France prepare to meet England in the Group D opening game at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, bettor.com takes a look at the best possible starting XI for Laurent Blanc’s side
The 25-year-old has been given the extra responsibility to captain the French side for the tournament. However, don’t expect the Olympique Lyonnais man to get complacent despite facing an English side that is relatively depleted and inexperienced.
Despite so much pressure from Steve Mandanda, Lloris has been Laurent Blanc’s number 1 for a long time and no one can criticise the tactician for his preference of the former OGC Nice man.
The centre-back had a great season with Valencia but in recent friendly games, has shown signs of vulnerability. However, the 26-year-old always saves his best for the big occasions and a solid display from the former Lille man would be just the tonic he
needs to shake off a slight dip in form.
The Arsenal defender has improved a lot in recent months and was the main reason why the likes of Mamadou Sakho and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa were ignore for the trip to Eastern Europe. In recent friendlies, Blanc has preferred pairing Rami with Philippe Mexes.
However, the AC Milan man’s performances have not been reassuring so it might be a wise decision to give a much improved Koscielny a chance to prove himself.
Furthermore, the Arsenal man’s knowledge of the English style of play makes him a better partner for Rami than Mexes.
However, Koscielny might have to wait for his turn to come as he has still not managed to win Blanc’s trust.
Though Patrice Evra has been preferred by Blanc in recent games, the Manchester United fullbacks is showing signs of decline for both club and country. No wonder Sir Alex Ferguson is in the market for a new left-back.
Gael Clichy on the other hand, has been in relatively better form than his fellow countryman both for club and country.
However, it is unlikely that Blanc will prefer the Manchester City man over a much more experienced Evra who despite a dip in form, will be able to hold his own against the likes of Theo Walcott or Chamberlain.
Following yet another injury to Bakary Sagna, Laurent Blanc chose to give Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy to win himself valuable points. And the 26-year-old defender did manage to impress the native of Cevennes following some solid performances against
the likes of Germany, Serbia and Iceland.
It is expected that Debuchy will start every game for Blanc if he stays fit.
Though his form has been questionable, the Olympique de Marseille man is the only fit defensive midfielder available to Blanc at the moment. Yann M’Vila, who is the first-choice, is unlikely to play against England tonight which means that Diarra will be
given a tough task to hold off English attackers.
The Newcastle United man has made the midfield role his own. Pulling the strings at the centre of the park, the midfielder will have an experienced partner in the shape of Florent Malouda.
The Chelsea man is clearly in decline but no one can doubt his experience which has helped the French team in recent games. Though he has lost a lot of pace in recent years, Malouda could play a big role in France’s aim to start their European adventure
on a winning note.
In recent games, Franck Ribery has proven himself to be an integral member of the starting Xi and his excellent runs down the left flank would be something that English defenders need to be wary about. The Bayern Munich man has started winning over the fans
after a feisty relation and that could be the turning point of his international career.
Hatem Ben Arfa
The youngster from Newcastle United has returned from the wilderness with a bang and Blanc has started trusting him a lot. The tricky left-footed winger always had talent and now, has matured into a great team player. Expect the former Marseille man to link-up
with the likes of Cabaye and Karim Benzema to terrorise English defence.
A great performance in a recent warmup game against Serbia proved that the Real Madrid man will be France’s main weapon at the Euros. Following an excellent campaign with Real Madrid, Benzema has also started showing his true colours for the national team
which does not bode well for the Three Lions.
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