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France aim to maintain recent England supremacy

Published: Wednesday 4 January 2012, 19.00CET
Minds may be racing back to England and France's opening game of the finals in Portugal eight years ago as the neighbours reconvene in UEFA EURO 2012 Group D.

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Published: Wednesday 4 January 2012, 19.00CET

France aim to maintain recent England supremacy

Minds may be racing back to England and France's opening game of the finals in Portugal eight years ago as the neighbours reconvene in UEFA EURO 2012 Group D.

The sheer quantity of French players plying their trade in England should guarantee an exciting encounter as these old rivals and neighbours from either side of the Channel kick off their UEFA EURO 2012 Group D campaign in Donetsk.

Head-to-head record
• France's record from 28 official meetings with England is W8 D4 L16. Yet the six competitive encounters between the countries have been much more even, with two wins each and two draws.

• The nations first met in Paris on 10 May 1923, with England prevailing 4-1. England won their first six games against Les Bleus until France struck back with a 4-2 success in Colombes on 14 May 1931.

• The tide has turned since with France now unbeaten in five games against England – four wins and a draw – in the 15 years since a 1-0 friendly defeat in Montpellier on 7 June 1997.

• England have yet to win in four UEFA European Championship games against France, recording two draws and two defeats.

• England beat France in the group stage on the way to winning the 1966 FIFA World Cup – their only major international success to date. They also won the sides' opening match of the 1982 World Cup.

• England and France met in Donetsk at the 2009 UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals, with England prevailing 3-1 after extra time on 30 July 2009, Danny Welbeck starting. England lost the final 2-0 to Ukraine, also in Donetsk.

Selected previous meetings
17 November 2010: England 1-2 France (Crouch 86; Benzema 16, Valbuena 55) – Wembley, London, friendly
Foster, Jagielka, Ferdinand (Richards 46), Lescott, Gibbs (Warnock 72), Walcott (A Johnson), Henderson, Barry (Young 46), Milner, Gerrard (Crouch 84), Carroll (Bothroyd 72).
France: Lloris, Sagna (Réveillère 86), Rami, Mexès (Sakho 46), Abidal, Nasri, Gourcuff (Hoarau 85), M'Vila, Malouda (Payet 77), Benzema (Rémy 67), Valbuena (Diarra 68).

• Fabio Capello fielded an experimental lineup in the teams' most recent meeting and England were perhaps fortunate to escape with a modest margin of defeat in a game which Laurent Blanc's side dominated.

13 June 2004: France 2-1 England (Zidane 90+1 90+3p; Lampard 38) – Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon, UEFA EURO 2004 group stage
Barthez, Gallas, Thuram, Silvestre (Sagnol 79), Lizarazu, Pirès (Wiltord 75), Makelele (Dacourt 90+4), Vieira,  Zidane, Henry, Trezeguet.
England: James, G Neville, King, Campbell, A Cole, Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, Scholes (Hargreaves 76), Rooney (Heskey 76), Owen (Vassell 69).

• Sven-Göran Eriksson's team came unstuck in the closing stages of their UEFA EURO 2004 opener; with England 1-0 up, David Beckham had a penalty saved by Fabien Barthez and they then conceded two Zinédine Zidane goals in added time. The sides both qualified for the knockout stages but exited in the quarter-finals.

Form guide
• France have played at the Donbass Arena before, beating Ukraine 4-1 in a 6 June 2011 friendly game. They came from behind with goals from Kévin Gameiro and Younes Kaboul, making his first senior appearance, as well as two for another debutant, substitute Marvin Martin.

• France have not lost in nine competitive games – six wins and three draws – since opening their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 home defeat by Belarus on 3 September 2010.

• England came through their eight qualifying games – five wins and three draws – unbeaten. Their last competitive defeat was a 4-1 reverse against Germany in the 2010 World Cup round of 16 on 27 June 2010, their all-time heaviest loss at a major tournament.

Team ties
• A substantial proportion of the France squad have played in England, along with coach Blanc, who represented Manchester United FC from 2001 to 2003, winning the title in his second season:
Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United FC 2010-)
Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United FC 2011-)
Cédric Carrasso (Crystal Palace FC, 2001/02)
Gaël Clichy (Arsenal FC 2003-11, Manchester City FC 2011-)
Alou Diarra (Liverpool FC 2002-05)
Patrice Evra (Manchester United FC 2006-)
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal FC 2010-)
Florent Malouda (Chelsea FC 2007-)
Samir Nasri (Arsenal FC 2008-11, Manchester City FC 2011-)

• Evra counts England's Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young among his Old Trafford team-mates.

• Alou Diarra signed for Liverpool FC in 2002 but never made a competitive appearance.

• Koscielny plays alongside Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Arsenal.

• Malouda is a team-mate of Ashley Cole and John Terry at Chelsea.

• Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy now play with Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner at Manchester City, and were once team-mates of Walcott at Arsenal.

• Franck Ribéry scored the only goal in France's 1-0 friendly success against England in Paris on 26 March 2008.

• Blanc's final appearance for France was in a 1-1 home friendly draw with England on 2 September 2000. Against England he also played in a 2-0 friendly victory on 10 February 1999, a 1-0 home loss on 7 June 1997 and a goalless draw at EURO '92.

• Philippe Mexès has played in two UEFA Champions League defeats for AS Roma in Donetsk: a 3-0 round of 16 loss to FC Shakhtar Donetsk at the Donbass Arena on 8 March 2011, and a 1-0 group stage defeat at the old RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium on 22 November 2006.

• Walcott scored for Arsenal at the Donbass Arena in a UEFA Champions League game on 3 November 2010 but his side – which included Nasri and Clichy – lost 2-1.

• Steve Mandanda and Mathieu Valbuena were in the Olympique de Marseille squad beaten 2-0 at Shakhtar in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

• Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy played in the LOSC Lille Métropole side that held Shakhtar to a 0-0 draw in Donetsk in the UEFA Cup round of 32 on 23 February 2006.

Last updated: 05/12/13 4.49CET