Roy Hodgson should derive some optimism from the fact that the rising respect for France within England outstrips the respect for France within France. Whereas the English view is based on partial evidence, in France they know the whole story.
In France they know about Laurent Blanc’s team’s 21-game unbeaten run but also the detail, such as four of those games being against Luxembourg and Albania. They know that qualification from a relatively easy group went to the final minutes of the final game last October.
Unbeaten run: Laurent Blanc has done well with France
It was not until February, when France beat Germany in Bremen, that domestic opinion began to change. But it will require coherent performances tonight and across the group to convince the French public that their team have moved on from the debacle of South Africa.
Cities & Stadiums
The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments
|2008||Spain||Germany||Russia / Turkey|
|2004||Greece||Portugal||Netherlands / Czech Republic|
|2000||France||Italy||Netherlands / Portugal|
|1996||Germany||Czech Republic||France / England|
|1992||Denmark||Germany||Netherlands / Sweden|
|1988||Netherlands||Soviet Union||Italy / West Germany|
|1984||France||Spain||Denmark / Portugal|
|1972||West Germany||Soviet Union||Belgium|