France must learn from mistakes: Blanc
Laurent Blanc has urged France to avoid the mistakes they made against England by starting strongly against co-hosts Ukraine in their second Euro 2012 outing in Donetsk tonight
France were second-best for the first quarter of their opening Group D match on Monday and fell behind to a 30th-minute Joleon Lescott header before earning a draw through Samir Nasri’s equaliser nine minutes later.
Les Bleus finished the game at Donbass Arena in the ascendancy but they were unable to breach the English defence a second time and Blanc does not want them to handicap themselves with another slow start on Friday.
“We’ve re-watched the England game a few times,” he said at Thursday’s pre-match press conference.
“We could have been 2-0 down after 25 minutes and it would’ve been very difficult to come back. But the goal woke us up and tomorrow (Friday) I hope we’ll be awake from the first second of the match.”
Ukraine boss eases pressure off Sheva
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin has tried to ease the pressure on star striker Andrei Shevchenko as his side prepare to go in search of a Euro 2012 quarter-final place against France tonight.
“He’s a normal person. He’s just one of the 23 players that I have at my disposal,” Blokhin said of Shevchecko, whose brace fired Ukraine to a 2-1 victory over Sweden on Monday.
>> Sweden eliminated England from Euro 1992 in the final game of the group stage as a late winning goal by Tomas Brolin sealed a 2-1 victory.
>> England’s 1-0 win over Sweden at Wembley in November last year was their first in 43 years. They have never beaten the Scandinavian nation in a World Cup or European Championship match (including qualifiers), drawing five times and losing twice.
>> Steven Gerrard is the fifth England player to play at three European Championships. Tony Adams, Alan Shearer, Gary Neville and Sol Campbell have all previously achieved the feat.
>> Their opening Euro 2012 2-1 victory over Sweden was Ukraine’s first-ever win at a European Championship finals.
>> France were involved in the highest-scoring match in European Championship history, a 4-5 defeat to Yugoslavia in 1960.