A 2-1 away win against
Germany on Wednesday moved France from outsiders to the ranks of
favourites for the European Championship finals as Les Bleus
extended their unbeaten run to 18 matches.
"France will be among the Euro favourites, just like Spain
and Germany," said Germany coach Joachim Low after watching his
team lose in the Bremen friendly.
France looked impressive in counter attacks, with full-back
Mathieu Debuchy and winger Mathieu Valbuena proving a strong
Lille's Debuchy set up Olivier Giroud's and Florent
Malouda's goals as the visitors, who for once were playing a
team wanting to do more than sit back and wait, surprisingly
outplayed three-times European champions Germany.
Coach Laurent Blanc, who took over in 2010 after France were
knocked out of the first round of the World Cup following
off-pitch dramas, said the game had been an important test for
"These are friendlies, of course, but England, Brazil or
Germany are prestigious opponents," said Blanc, referring to
France's victories over England in 2010 and Brazil last year.
"We showed that we were able to compete with one of the best
teams in Europe," said midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
"This kind of victory will help us prepare for the Euro
finals peacefully," added centre-back Philippe Mexes.
Captain Hugo Lloris, however, warned against complacency.
"This victory is important for our self-confidence but let's
not get carried way," the Olympique Lyon keeper said.
France will play England, Ukraine and Sweden at the Euro
finals in Poland and Ukraine, which start on June 8, and Blanc
said that some players had made an important step towards
getting a call-up for the trip.
"We will also monitor the players' performances with their
clubs but those who were here tonight have scored points," he
Debuchy was undoubtedly one of the candidates for the
right-back position, where he will be in competition with Bacary
Sagna and Anthony Reveillere.
Giroud, the Ligue 1 top scorer, also shone at the Weser
Stadium and he could well be the third striker for the Euro
finals along with Loic Remy and Karim Benzema, who both missed
Wednesday's game through injury.
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