Euro 2012: Players to Watch in Sweden vs. France Match
France enters its final UEFA Euro 2012 group stage match needing at least a draw to advance to the knockout round. The outlook isn't nearly as good for Sweden, which has already been mathematically eliminated after losing its first two games.
Les Bleus have emerged as a legitimate threat to win the tournament. They have played strong defense so far and have plenty of offensive depth. It's just a matter of time before the playmakers start finding the net more frequently.
The Blagult should really be in a far better position right now. They held leads in both of their matches so far, but let them both slip away. There have been too many defensive lapses and sooner or later that catches up with a team.
Here's a look at all the viewing information for today's clash and some players to watch as France attempts to secure its spot in the next round.
What will be the match result?
When: Tuesday, June 19 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Where: Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Players to Watch
Yohan Cabaye (France)
On a team with so many stars, Cabaye tends to get overlooked. But the Newcastle United midfielder made his presence felt against Ukraine with a key goal to give France some breathing room. It was the first international goal of his career.
That's what makes Les Bleus so dangerous. They have numerous players who are capable of having a massive impact on any given match. If a back line becomes too focused on one or two stars, an unsung hero will step up.
Cabaye should have received a confidence boost after his performance the last time out, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him put together another solid game against a less motivated Sweden squad.
Which player will have the best match?
Karim Benzema (France)
Benzema has been the main target in the attacking third for France, but the Real Madrid striker hasn't found the net yet. While Les Bleus have been able to compile points anyway, they will need him to elevate his level of play to advance deeper in the tournament.
The biggest concern should be pressure. He was just another piece to the puzzle for Los Blancos, which allowed him to fly under the radar with Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo dominating the spotlight. With France, the focus is more on him and he must adapt.
That said, he has looked dangerous in both games, meaning it should only be a matter of time before he scores his first goal of Euro 2012. After that, things will likely take off for Benzema.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
Heading into the tournament it was no secret the Blagult would go as far as Ibrahimovic could carry them. He wasn't able to generate enough goals to make up for the team's porous back line, however, and the result was the team's swift exit.
The 30-year-old A.C. Milan star has lost a step over the years, but he's still one of the most dangerous strikers in Europe with the ball at his feet around the box. He could single-handedly steal the game if France isn't careful on defense.
Even though Les Bleus are favored for good reason, they must be careful. Sweden has literally nothing to lose, and that's usually when a team is most dangerous. Ibrahimovic is the player to stop first and foremost.
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