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France not concerned about facing holders Spain

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France not concerned about facing holders Spain
Kiev, Jun 20: France lacked defensive stability, no clear-cut chances upfront and remained weak in midfield during their final group clash against Sweden, yet the French players are not worried about facing Spain in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

The former World and European Champions, who made a positive start to the tournament, had a miserable match on Tuesday night, losing 2-0 to Sweden while finishing second below England, who will take on Italy for a place in the semi-finals.

"Let's face it, Spain or Italy, it's the same," Gael Clichy, who seems facourite to start at left-back ahead of Patrice Evra, said.

After being attacked by the Swedes, France have to up their game especially in defence due to the suspension of centre back Philippe Mexes, who was cautioned for the second time and will miss the clash with holders Spain.

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is likely to replace the suspended Mexes but has only three caps for France and has only played one game alongside centre-back Adil Rami.

"I know Laurent having played with him at Arsenal and I trust him to deliver," said Manchester City's Clichy.

Les Bleus, However, are confident that the reigning champions could be the perfect opponents in the quarter-finals.

"Spain will be favourites, they are one of the best teams in the world," said forward Karim Benzema, who has yet to score at the tournament. "But they play, and we will have more space.

Midfielder Samir Nasri agreed. "Maybe it's better for us to face Spain because Italy are very, very painful to play," he said. "Let's not worry. Spain had huge difficulties against Croatia (even though) they may have the best midfield in the world."

The Spaniards have never won a competitive match against the French, but coach Laurent Blanc is aware about the opponents strength as well as weak points. "All games are difficult. Spain struggled against Croatia. After such a game (against Sweden), it's hard to picture how we can beat Spain," he said.

"But we will fight. Croatia showed us how it can be done," Blanc added.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 17:49 [IST]
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