France, who have been facing
a recent string of injuries, need their more experienced players
at their best if they are to shine at the Euro 2012 finals,
according to coach Laurent Blanc.
Les Bleus, who qualified for June's tournament in Poland and
Ukraine by topping their qualifying group, produced a couple of
mediocre friendly performances in a 1-0 win against the United
States last week and a 0-0 draw at home to Belgium on Tuesday.
Blanc's side looked short of invention, failing to create
any clear-cut chances against Belgium before being booed off the
Stade de France pitch by an angry crowd.
However, they were without playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, who is
still waiting to get back to his best after a lengthy
injury layoff, as well as injured midfielders Samir Nasri and
Abou Diaby and defender Philippe Mexes.
"We need to be better technically," Blanc told reporters.
"We were too harmless, that's an explanation. We have kids
like [Maxime] Gonalons, [Yohan] Cabaye, [Marvin] Martin. Youth
is good, but limited."
Asked to assess Mamadou Sakho's performance in central
defence, World Cup-winning former centre-back Blanc replied:
"He's 21, you don't just buy experience in a supermarket."
France, however, are unbeaten in their last 17 matches but
next face a huge test with a February friendly against Germany,
whom they could also meet in the Euros as they will be in pot
four when the draw is made on December 2.
"You know who we could face [in the Euro finals]. The draw
will be an important moment. But I spoke with the Germans, they
want to avoid France in pot four," said Blanc, who has yet to
choose his captain for the championship.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was the captain in the last two
friendlies, even against the U.S. when usual skipper Alou Diarra
was on the pitch.
The keeper may retain the captaincy as candidate Eric Abidal
said he "did not feel it," according to Blanc.
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