France vs. England Live Stream: Online Viewing Info for Euro 2012 Match
In what has been a tournament full of early surprises, we could see another one on Monday afternoon, when France and England kick off the Group D festivities.
It will be England coach Roy Hodgson's first meaningful match with the team, and it will be France's first attempt to erase disgraceful memories of the 2010 World Cup from the public consciousness.
Leading up to Euro 2012, France has looked excellent, beating Estonia, Serbia and Iceland in their last three international friendlies by a combined score of 9-2. England, meanwhile, hasn't looked quite as dominant in its own warmup matches but still managed to win two of its last three, taking down Belgium and Norway.
By all indications, France should come out of this one with the W. It is tabbed as the third overall favorite (8-1) to win it all. England, meanwhile, has 14-1 odds—but as we've seen thus far, the best team doesn't always win at Euro 2012.
Where: Donbass Arena, Donestk, Ukraine
When: Monday, June 11 at 12 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Odds: France favored 13-8 (via Betvictor)
History isn't on England's side when it comes to internationals, as it hasn't made the semifinals since 1996, according to TSN.ca. Plus, this team has been ravaged by injuries in the past couple of weeks, when it lost Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill. Those injuries, coupled with Wayne Rooney's suspension for a tackle against Montenegro last October, leaves England with little hope of pulling off the upset.
Key Storyline: This Is a Must-Win for Both Age-Old Rivals
There's been no love lost between these two ancient rivals as this matchup has approached, and both teams are well aware of the implications: Whoever wins gets a huge leg up in Group D, which also features Sweden and Ukraine.
Perhaps in an effort to give France a psychological leg up, coach Laurent Blanc has done his best to malign Hodgson's coaching chops, telling The Mirror's John Cross:
I've done this job for two years, and Mr. Hodgson knows it a lot less than me for sure. But it’s difficult to put ideas across to your players—you don’t have a lot of time to work with them, and he’s had far less than me.
Blanc also talked about France's skyrocketing confidence level at the moment, stemming from its performance in its last three international friendlies—but that, of course, can lead to another kind of mental trap.
Will England pull off the early upset against France?
Despite Blanc's questioning of his coaching style, Hodgson isn't worried. He may have only had about a month to prepare with this team, but he believes that the low expectations levied at England are seriously misplaced. He told The Guardian that he is surprised by his own confidence in his team.
Perhaps the lack of expectations surrounding England can do it a favor going up against a complacent France squad.
Prediction: France Wins 2-1
France's 21-game unbeaten streak isn't coming to an end quite yet. The injuries prove to be too much to for England to overcome, and France starts off Euro 2012 which a massive win over one of its biggest rivals.
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