French consider Cantona recall

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The Independent Online
Eric Cantona's recent goalscoring form has set him on course for a fifth championship medal in six seasons and could earn him a place in France's European Championship squad.

France's coach Aime Jacquet, who has ignored both Cantona and Newcastle's David Ginola for the friendly with Belgium on Wednesday, watched the Manchester United player on television as the Old Trafford side extended their lead over Newcastle at the top of the Premiership to three points with a 1- 0 victory over Tottenham yesterday.

Cantona scored his fifth goal in five matches and is threatening to steer United to their second Double in three seasons. Jacquet is set to recall him for the international against Finland at the end of May.

"Eric has never been out of my plans and is now forcing his way back into the reckoning," he said yesterday. "It's good to see that he has hit such good form recently. But I knew what he was capable of.

"The door is still open for the European Championship, although I have to keep faith with the squad that qualified us for England and weigh up the pros and cons of bringing Eric back."

Finland are France's next opponents after Belgium, and they continue their build-up towards Euro 96 with matches against Germany and Armenia at the beginning of June.

Cantona was Jacquet's skipper before his eight-month ban, which ended at the start of October. Yesterday French newspapers widely praised Cantona's display against Spurs and highlighted his recent scoring run. He remains popular in his homeland.

The news for Germany is far less encouraging. They face the possibility of having an influential midfield player below full fitness. Andy Moller, a major part of Germany's plans for this year's European Championship finals, a lay-off of up to six weeks. faces Moller, who has just recovered from a knee problem, learned yesterday that he had torn a ligament in his left leg and is unlikely to be back in action much before the start of May.

The injury means the 28-year-old former Juventus playmaker will miss most of the rest of the German league season as the leaders, Borussia Dortmund, attempt to retain their title. Moller will also only have a month to get fit in time for the European finals in June.

"Moller's injury is a real shock. It hurts to be without him," Germany's coach, Berti Vogts, said yesterday. "He has become very important for the team."