In what is the most anticipated opening match of the 2012 UEFA Euro Championship, both England and France will be hoping to start off the tournament on the right foot with a victory.
Both sides come into the tournament on winning streaks. Under new head coach Roy Hodgson, England has won their last two games on 1-0 scores against Norway and Belgium, while France is coming off of convincing wins against Serbia (2-0) and Estonia (4-0).
The two sides last met on November 17th, 2010 in a friendly, with France winning 2-1.
Where: Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine
When: Monday, June 11 at 11:45 a.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
England Winning, but Must Do Better
Despite winning both of Hodgson's first two matches, the team has not looked particularly fearsome. Against Belgium on June 2nd, while England showed defensive toughness by not allowing a goal, they were dominated in the possession category, controlling the ball only 41 percent of the time, and Danny Welbeck's goal was the team's only shot that was on target.
English goalkeeper Joe Hart told ITV1:
"We need to do better in lots of ways. We need to have really high standards. We need to trust each other more on the ball. I think we'll perform differently when it comes to France."
While England will need to keep up their tight defensive play, they will stand little chance if France is allowed to dominate the ball.
After a near-disastrous game against Iceland which saw them claw back and win 3-2 after allowing two early goals, France comes into the match with momentum on it's side. In their wins over Serbia and Estonia, the offense, lead by Frank Ribery and Karim Benzema, produced six goals and won the possession battle with a 57 percent figure against Serbia and a dominating 68 percent against Estonia.
If France can keep up their form, they should have little trouble on Monday, especially if England continues to struggle offensively.
Injuries plentiful for England
England will be without Gary Cahill (jaw), Frank Lampard (thigh), Gareth Barry (stomach) and John Ruddy (finger), who are all injured and will be unable to compete in the tournament.
On the flip side, France only has one major injury, with striker Loic Remy (hip) unable to play.
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