France came into the European Championships on the back of an incredible run, under Laurent Blanc, but, after losing their final Group game, they must do things the hard way if they want to win Euro 2012.
The French side came into the competition on a 21-game unbeaten run, and they extended that with an opening draw against England, followed by a victory over the co-hosts Ukraine.
However, a 2-0 loss to the already-eliminated Sweden in their final group game left Les Bleus facing a massive quarterfinal baptism against the defending European and world champions, Spain.
The French fans might take some optimism from the fact that Spain have not hit the heights that took them to European and world glory; indeed, at times, they have looked laboured and without an attacking focal point.
If France can keep strong defensively, then they have the attacking talent to score, with the likes of Franck Ribery, Samir Nasri, and Karim Benzema capable of causing real problems to an indifferent Spanish defence.
It remains to be seen whether the trio can reach the top of the top scorer betting tables, this summer.
France defender, Gael Clichy, admits there is “nothing to worry about”, after losing to Sweden and sees no reason why his side cannot up their game and knock the champions out of Euro 2012.
“The end of our 23-game unbeaten run is not a big deal,” he said. “It doesn’t change what we’ve achieved over the past two years. It means we now face a quarter-final against Spain, but if you want to win the tournament you have to beat everybody.”
Blanc has done a great job since taking over as French manager. He has recently been linked with the vacant manager’s job at Premier League side, Tottenham. Will the speculation regarding Blanc have any influence on France’s Euro 2012 campaign?
The live football pages on Bet365 seem to indicate that Blanc may well have his mind on other things in Poland and Ukraine.