Today at Euro 2012: Sweden v France

 

France can right the wrongs of their World Cup capitulation in South Africa two years ago against Sweden in Group D this evening.

Midfielder Samri Nasri said the squad are desperate to secure the point they need to reach the knockout stages for the supporters, laying to rest the ego-drenched campaign of 2010.

"Our fans have not forgiven us yet but we will do everything to change that," Nasri said.

"In France the image of the national team was really bad so we have tried hard for the past two years to change that and we are 23 games unbeaten now."

Yohan Cabaye said Laurent Blanc's side want to beat the Swedes to avoid reigning champions Spain in the next round. "We'll have to give everything against Sweden so that we win and stay in first place," the Newcastle United midfielder said.

Cabaye is likely to shake off a thigh niggle that forced him off against Ukraine while Yann M'Vila could make his first start of the competition in place of Alou Diarra. It is a straight race between Gael Clichy, who played against Ukraine, and Patrice Evra, who faced England, to start at left-back.

The 3-2 defeat to England spelt the end for Sweden, but even though they are going home, captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic is aiming to upset the French.

"We'll be playing for our honour. We want to take some points home with us," he said.

"To motivate ourselves for the France game isn't a problem. We have one more match to do something good. France has to win, we'll just go out and play."

The match is likely to be the last at international level for the likes of Olof Mellberg and Anders Svensson, with coach Erik Hamren hinting at shuffling the old guard ahead of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Probable teams

Sweden: 1 ISAKSSON, 2 LUSTIG, 3 MELLBERG*, 4 GRANQVIST, 5 M OLSSON, 8 SVENSSON*, 9 KALLSTROM*, 7 LARSSON, 10 IBRAHIMOVIC, 6 ELM*, 11 ELMANDER

France: 1 LLORIS, 22 CLICHY, 5 MEXES*, 4 RAMI, 2 DEBUCHY *, 6 CABAYE, 18 DIARRA, 7 RIBERY, 11 NASRI, 14 MENEZ*, 10 BENZEMA

*misses next match if booked

Kick-off 7.45pm, Kiev (ITV 4) Ref P Proenca (Por) Odds: Sweden 5-1 draw 13-5 France 4-6.

Player to watch: Jeremy Menez

After a slow, rusty display ran into England's two banks of four, France changed and won well against Ukraine. Florent Malouda was dropped and replaced by Jeremy Menez, who brought instinctive movement, attacking edge and the opening goal in a 2-0 win.

Mnez's impact was obvious. He was France's most threatening player all afternoon, bursting into the box from the right-hand side of Laurent Blanc's 4-2-3-1. Before he scored he missed more than one good chance. Ukraine never learnt to shackle his runs into the box, and it cost them.

What made Menezeven more impressive was that this stormy afternoon in Donetsk was just 10 days after his first international goal. In France's confident 4-0 dismissal of Estonia in Le Mans, Menez came on late but made his uses obvious: finding enough chances for himself, and eventually taking one.

If the emergence of Menez among Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa is a surprise, it should not be. For years Menez has been seen as their peer, part of the "1987 generation" which won the European Under-17 Championship in 2004. And like those other three, he was seen as risking the waste of his gifts, at least until this season.

Menez, who has recently turned 25, is already at his fourth senior club. He started at Sochaux, before moving to Monaco and from there to Roma. It was only in August 2010 that Laurent Blanc, trying to build a new France out of the chaotic demise of Raymond Domenech, called up Menez for the first time. He played through the qualification for Euro 2012, and showed enough to be brought back to France last summer.

Paris Saint-Germain have bought many good players since their Qatari takeover, and Menez was one of them in 2011. But he was overshadowed in profile by another import from Italy, as Javier Pastore arrived from Palermo for €40 million. PSG, of course, did not win Ligue1 but Menez learned enough in his three Serie A seaons to show that he deserves to be retained, regardless of whoever else Paris buy. He has the Champions League to light up next season, but for now the European Championship will do.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game