EURO 2012 PREVIEW: FRANCE

Posted on: Tue 05 Jun 2012

With Euro 2012 a matter of days away, we continue to assess the chances of those sides featuring Chelsea players. Today, it's the turn of an in-form France.

The French ship has been somewhat steadied following a shambolic 2010 World Cup which was dominated by in-fighting, largely thanks to the appointment of Laurent Blanc who replaced the outgoing Raymond Domenech.

A new-look, younger side, who are unbeaten since 2010, will head into the competition in confident mood following a qualifying campaign in which they topped Group D ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovena, losing only once.

The goalscoring burden will be placed on the shoulders of Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, while the more established stars such as our own Florent Malouda and Manchester United's Patrice Evra will bolster the squad with a wealth of experience.

In what was a big blow, talented Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, a transfer target for a host of Premier League clubs, picked up an injury in a warm-up match against Serbia last week and Blanc will be hoping the 21-year-old is passed fit to play in the opener against England, a team they haven't lost to in their previous five meetings

Far more attack-minded than they have been in the past, a trio of Samir Nasri, Franck Ribery and Hatem Ben-Arfa will look to support Benzema, with Yohan Cabaye and M'Vila -injury permitting- protecting the back-four.

Four years ago, the two-time winners were unable to progress from the group stages. They will be quietly confident after a solid build-up to the tournament, but in what is expected to be a tight group, it could be the smallest details which make the biggest difference.

Monday 11 June: France v England, kick-off 5pm
Friday 15 June: Ukraine v France, kick-off 5pm
Thursday 19 June: Sweden v France, kick-off 7.45pm