Euro 2012: France’s form counts for nothing, says Roy Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson does not believe France's form will be a key factor in their Euro 2012 opener on Monday

roy hodgson
Roy Hodgson has previously managed Finland and Switzerland PA Photos

roy hodgson

Roy Hodgson insists France’s impressive form will count for nothing when Laurent Blanc’s side take on England in the Euro 2012 Group D opener on Monday.

France are unbeaten in 14 games, with their last defeat coming against Belarus in September 2010, and England have failed to secure a victory against Les Bleus in their last five meetings.

“It is a stern challenge. We are facing a team in excellent form and 21 matches unbeaten at any level is a fine achievement,” said Hodgson.

“But when you come to European championships or World Cups, having good or bad form isn’t the factor that’s decisive.

“It’s how your team plays on the night, how people adjust to the circumstances – they’ll be slightly different here in Donetsk – and it’s about what you can do as a team.

“We have full respect for the French, but the players are confident in their own ability.”

Meanwhile, Hodgson dismissed the suggestion that England will not be a force to be reckoned with in Poland and Ukraine, and the 64-year-old is convinced his side have a chance of ending their 46-year wait for silverware.

“You can’t accuse us of not being a very serious footballing nation but we’re all very much aware that we’ve not won anything since 1966. You don’t need to remind me of that,” he added.

“We have a chance, as one of the 16 teams here, to show how good a team we are. I can assure you we’ll be doing our best to prove it on the field of play.”

England v France: Pre-match facts

• England came through their eight qualifying games – five wins and three draws – unbeaten. Their last competitive defeat was a 4-1 reverse against Germany in the 2010 World Cup round of 16 on 27 June 2010, their all-time heaviest loss at a major tournament.

• Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team came unstuck in the closing stages of their Euro 2004 opener; with England 1-0 up, David Beckham had a penalty saved by Fabien Barthez and they then conceded two Zinedine Zidane goals in added time.

• France have six players with previous European championship experience, all from 2008: Steve Mandanda, Malouda, Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri, Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery.

• Ashley Cole has gone a record 94 outfield appearances without an England goal. Gary Neville, a member of the coaching staff at Euro 2012, set the previous mark of 85.

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