France take on Spain this evening in their Euro 2012 quarter-final tie, but their preparations have hardly been the best.
A stuttering 1-1 draw with England in their opening match set the scene for the French, who had high expectations going in to the tournament.
A win against the co-hosts, Ukraine followed, but a defeat against a very average Sweden side has ruffled a few feathers in the French camp.
It’s deja-vu, as supporters will feel it is the World Cup in South Africa all over again, when in-fighting ultimately cost the side.
Laurent Blanc admitted after the Sweden game that there were a few choice words said, something obvious seeing as the group stage was far from a success.
Having said that, France did make it out their group and qualify for the quarter-finals.
The next barrier is World and European champions Spain.
However, the Spanish have not looked like they once were, and a lack of cutting edge up front appears to be glaringly obvious, relying on an out-of-sorts Fernando Torres to fire them to glory, like he did in 2008.
You certainly shouldn’t write them off, but they are beatable, and the French will be keen to exploit this.
The defeat to Sweden may in fact be a blessing in disguise.
The loss will have hurt, and tonight’s game is now or never. The players will be fired up and will want to prove a point.
France beat Spain 2-1 in Euro 2000, and a repeat of that will do just fine tonight.
Laurent Koscielny is set to come in at the back for the suspended Phillipe Mexes, while Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery should be fit.
It’s a difficult one to call, and like the rugby side, it depends which French side turns up.
If they’re on form, I fancy them to beat Spain, but if not, Spain will edge it.
I’m going for 2-1 France.
What do you think?
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