The key to unlock France
England's campaign gets underway today as they face Group D favourites France in Donetsk.
Roy Hodgson has had to deal with several injury blows with no less than four players withdrawing from the squad which was announced a month ago.
According to the England camp there are no further injury scares, the team morale is high and the team is raring to go.
Hodgson is renowned for his defensive tactics, where his teams are tough to break down and possess the ability to break quickly. If England are to get a result tonight, they are going to have to remain patient and whoever plays in front of Glen Johnson has a huge task on their hands.
It is being suggested that James Milner will play wide right which offers support for Johnson who will have to try and keep Ribery, Malouda and Evra quiet down the left hand side. Although France posses Nasri and Cabaye as other attacking threats, expect most of the play to come through the trio down the left. France will see Johnson as a much weaker area of England than Cole and will look to get in behind the Liverpool full back.
Gerrard will play on the right side along with Milner and if these two are successful it will play a huge part in keeping France at bay. The back four will include Cole, Lescott, Terry and Johnson. Parker and Gerrard will sit in front of the back four and that provides us with a very solid defensive side, supported by Downing and Milner who are renowned for tracking back as wide players.
Expect to see France outplay us for large majorities of the game but if we can break and attack with conviction we will have a real chance of coming away with a positive result. The key to England's success tonight is the ability to counter with pace and containing Milner and Young we have every chance of doing so.
Laurent Blanc has expressed his concerns with the France defence in recent weeks claiming that although the team is winning they haven't been solid enough at the back. This can only be positive for England who will take confidence into the game knowing that they have a chance of scoring which may enable them to secure a positive result.
Blanc also expressed his worries for the midfield who are suffering from a general leader for the team, England on the other hand include Parker, Gerrard and Terry who have all captained the national side and posses desirable leadership qualities.
In order for England to unlock France tonight, they will need to remain responsible at the back and make sure when they get the chance to attack, they do so in numbers and put the weak looking defence under some real pressure to create a chance for Welbeck and co.
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