England begin their European Championship campaign against France on Monday 11th June as they attempt to end England’s miserable run in major tournaments. The Three Lions will be without suspended Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney for the opening two matches and it is not yet clear who will lead the attack. Added to that, England are yet to appoint a successor to Fabio Capello and time is running short. On the plus side, they have shown plenty of potential in recent internationals and qualified comfortably from their group.
Among those hoping to make an impact at Euro 2012 will be the youthful trio of Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Frazier Campbell but they surely lack the international experience to be pitched into the opening game. Theo Walcott may finally get the chance to fulfil his early potential at international level and could be supported up front by Ashley Young, Stewart Downing or Darren Bent.
England are looking strong in midfield with Scott Parker and Gareth Barry expected to play leading roles and the more experienced Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard showing glimpses of their old form. If Rio Ferdinand does not make it to Ukraine, Chelsea’s recent purchase Gary Cahill looks a natural to line up alongside his team-mate John Terry.
An Improved French Team
The French qualified top of Group D which marked an improvement from their embarrassing display at the 2010 World Cup. Coach Laurent Blanc has managed to bring some order to the shambles of a team that left the World Cup in disgrace. The French defeated Germany 2-1 in Bremen in February with the promising Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud scored his first international goal. Chelsea’s Florent Malouda contributed three goals in qualifying and seems to be recapturing his form under the new Chelsea boss, Roberto Di Matteo. With Samir Nasri, Franc Ribery and Karim Benzema all in the squad, France have the potential to make a big impression on this tournament.
Predictions for England vs France
This is possibly the tightest of the opening games and both teams are priced at around 7-4 to open the tournament with a victory. The draw is on offer at 2-1 and that could be the most likely outcome with both sides seeing this as probably the toughest match in their group. Best odds and Euro 2012 live betting can be found at Bet365.com
England’s prospects cannot have been done any good by the late change of Coach and the loss of Wayne Rooney for the opening two games. They are priced at 10-1 to win Euro 2012 but that does not seem particularly generous and the French (14-1) will give them a good run for their money.