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Euro 2012 Preview: France vs England

Donetsk: France coach Laurent Blanc is unlikely to risk midfielder Yann M`Vila against England as deputies Alou Diarra and Blaise Matuidi have recovered well from respective knee and hamstring problems.

M`Vila has struggled with a thigh injury but otherwise Blanc has had few fresh concerns to deal with since Loic Remy dropped out of the squad with a thigh problem of his own at the end of May.

Karim Benzema will start ahead of Olivier Giroud in attack following his dazzling display in Les Bleus` final pre-tournament friendly against Estonia. Philippe Mexes is likely to retain his place despite pressure from backup Laurent Koscielny.

Several questions of strategy, form and fitness still surround England manager Roy Hodgson`s team selection. John Terry returned to training on Thursday following a hamstring complain and should start alongside Joleon Lescott in central defense, with Phil Jagielka waiting in the wings.

At the opposite end of the pitch, both Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck have staked claims to the lone striking role, with Wayne Rooney suspended. Welbeck scored in the Three Lions` last friendly against Belgium, but Hodgson may be tempted to make use of Carroll`s height and power.

On the right flank, James Milner is almost certain to start, while Stewart Downing could be preferred to the more attacking but perhaps less disciplined Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Goal.com

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