Group Elimination D: Monday, 11 June 2012 - Donetsk - Donbass Arena
Catch the duel between England and France as they batlle it out at Donbass Arena.
France enters the tournament with a very evenly matched group D . Their 1st opponent will be a very good England team. France qualified over Bosnia and Romania with 6 wins losing only to Belarius. French made it in with 1 point defeating Bosnia but, their hard work paid off giving them the right to play England. France has a solid scoring attack being led by striker Nasir Nasri , Ribery and Karim Benzema . Goal keeper Lloris is very sound as well. France’s weakness is their back where Mexes plays . He is prone to make key errors. I don’t see very many clean sheets coming from France but with the type of attack they posses they should do well.
The pressure builds for England as they are expected to win this group. Coach Capello was able to qualify by winning 5 out of 8 games losing none. Team manager Roy Hodgeson won a couple of friendlies against Norway and Belgium . Hodgeson is known for using a 4-4-2 type set up with solid backs. The only problem is England has key injuries and striker Wayne Rooney is going to be suspended for this game and against Sweden.
Predictions: France wins 2-1
Face it with the injuries and suspensions England is short of key players. Hodgeson has to improvise for the lack of players and I think with France’s attack it will be hard for the Brit’s to overcome this match. England has to play like they have nothing to lose and they have to play their normal slow down tempo and hope for at least a draw.
This might not have been the high scoring match everyone it ended up producing a 1-1 draw but, the most interesting event took place when Frenchman Samir Nasri literally silenced the crowd.
Nasri, the French midfielder who currently plays his club soccer with English Premier League team Manchester City, put his side back in the game with a 36th-minute goal that cancelled out Joleon Lescott's opener for England.
Nasri wanted to silence critics with his tying goal. However, despite Nasri's excellent technique in controlling the ball, then spearing home a fierce strike from outside the area, he appeared far from pleased after his goal, putting his finger to his lips repeatedly and glaring in the direction of the stands.
Nasri ended his gesticulating by yelling "ferme ta gueule," which basically means "shut your mouth," as his teammates attempted to celebrate with him.
The outburst appeared to be aimed in the direction of the England bench, fueling speculation that Nasri was mouthing off at Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender who is now a television analyst and a temporary assistant to England coach Roy Hodgson.
Neville clashed with Nasri on the field several times when he was a player and has criticized his performances and attitude on British television.
But as far as the game went, statistically France passed the ball more than twice the number of times of their opponents – 634 to 307. Just as tellingly, there were only 136 English passes in the second half, when there were conspicuous signs of a team fading.
They defended manfully, as England teams tend to do, and restricted their opponents to few clear opportunities. More disappointing was their own lack of penetration after that moment, on the half-hour, when Patrice Evra fouled James Milner on the right of England's midfield and from the free-kick Lescott eluded his marker, Alou Diarra, to score from close range.
Gerrard's delivery was so exquisite that Lescott had to do little more than get his header on target but it was difficult to think of another moment when England put in a decent cross and had players in the penalty area. Too often there were moments of exasperation. On one occasion, Milner failed to beat the first defender and when the ball came back to Glen Johnson he overhit the second cross in quick succession.
They had edged the game during the opening half hour and might have scored earlier after Young's pass split open the French defence for Milner to run clear, the one moment when England showed the invention to play the killer pass and have a midfielder breaking beyond the forwards. Milner's first touch took the ball round Hugo Lloris but moved him further wide than he would have liked and he was unable to angle his shot, with his weaker left foot, into the net.
EURO 2012: England vs France Timeline
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