France vs England: 5 Things We Learned About Les Bleus from the Opener
In the opening match of Euro 2012 for France, Les Bleus met England yet again in a major tournament.
Just like in 2004, the two met in their first group stage match, England took the lead off of a headed goal, and France found an equalizer.
Unlike in 2004, though, France could not find a way to grab the winner.
The match sets up well for France's chances in the rest of the tournament, though, and they will like their chances to find their way through the group and into the knockout stage.
Here are the five things we learned about this France side from their opening match of the tournament.
Central Defense Is Weak
Perhaps it is because of Mexes's lack of form or playing time with Milan or Rami's being overworked at Valencia, but their central pairing was really a weak link for France.
Especially at the beginning of the match, they looked to be poor at best, making silly errors and allowing England to make nice runs and moves with ease.
It is true that they improved as the match went on, but their play is a concern for the rest of the tournament.
Perhaps Laurent Koscielny could be considered in replacing one of the starters.
Attack Is Strong
France looked a threat every time they ventured forward.
Their building play was effective and studied, particularly in the goal by Samir Nasri.
Given England's strong defensive display and the effectiveness of France's attack, Les Bleus may not need to look too hard to find goals in this tournament.
Franck Ribery Needs to Be More Effective
It may merely have been the result of Glen Johnson's fine play on the right side of defense, but Franck Ribery seemed less than effective today.
On his form with Bayern Munich, speeding down the sideline and using skill to carve up defenses, Ribery could be a difference-maker for France.
However, he was not on that form today; in fact, by the end of the match, English fans almost could have been rooting for the ball to find its way to Ribery, as his runs seemed to always lead to the same type of turnover.
Hopefully, Ribery can be better in the rest of the tournament.
They Did Not Panic When Down a Goal
As inconsequential as this may seem, this is a great sign for France's future in this tournament.
The fact that they did not panic, but rather kept their heads and kept fighting in the same way, shows that they are very poised.
This will be a hugely positive factor for them in the rest of the tournament.
France Are Still Well Set Up to Get Through the Group
Granted, this was not the greatest of performances ever by France, but it is still a fine point earned.
After all, England are probably the stiffest competition in the group.
A win over the co-hosts doesn't seem like too much to ask, and it could be enough to see them through to the quarters.
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