EURO 2012 MATCH 7 | France and England Meet Again in UEFA 2012 Live 12:00AM GMT+8
England (probable) : Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Downing, Welbeck, Young.
France (probable) : Lloris, Debuchy, Mexes, Rami, Evra, Cabaye, Diarra, Malouda, Nasri, Ribery, Benzema.
There has been a 714-day wait between England’s disappointing World Cup exit and their opening Euro 2012 game.
Much has happened since then – but most of it during the last six months. First there was Uefa’s two-game suspension for Wayne Rooney as a result of his sending off in qualifying. Then, in February, Fabio Capello quit as head coach following the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy for a second time.
Most recently a spate of injuries has seen pundits and punters alike write Roy Hodgson’s England off before the tournament has even begun. Can the new England manager and his class of 2012 change opinions on the pitch when it matters most?
· France beat England 2-1 in their opening match of Euro 2004, the last competitive meeting between the two countries. Zinedine Zidane scored an injury-time double after Frank Lampard had headed England ahead.
· Their only other European Championship finals meeting was a goalless draw in Malmo at Euro 92.
· France are unbeaten in five matches against England (W4, D1), and have won the last three. Their last defeat was at Le Tournoi on 7 June 1997, when Alan Shearer scored the only goal.
· Laurent Blanc could emulate Germany’s Berti Vogts, the only man to win the European Championship as both player and coach (in 1972 and 1996).
· Les Bleus have claimed just two points from six group matches at the last two major tournaments.
· France scored 15 times in qualifying – Greece (14) are the only side at Euro 2012 who netted fewer. The Danes and the Czech Republic also scored 15, with the Czechs’ tally including three play-off goals.
· Karim Benzema has scored more goals (seven) and recorded more assists (five) than any other French player since Blanc took over.
· In 202 minutes of football for France, Olivier Giroud has delivered three assists and scored one goal.
· Only five players have featured in the Champions League and European Championship final in the same season. France could potentially add two more names to this group in the form of Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda.
· England have played in the most European Championships (seven) without managing to win the tournament. They have also been eliminated in the group stage four times, more than anyone else.
· They have failed to win their opening match in all seven previous European Championships (D3, L4). They have lost the last two – 3-2 v Portugal in 2000 and 2-1 v France in 2004.
· Manager Roy Hodgson has faced France once before in international football. His Switzerland side won 2-1 against them in a friendly match in Lausanne in May 1992.
· Sixteen of the 19 goals that England have scored since the turn of 2011 have come in the opening hour.John Terry and Joleon Lescott have started just two games together for England – both wins against Andorra in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.