Euro 2012: Newcastle’s Cabaye indispensable for France – Blanc

Laurent Blanc hails the impact of Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye as France prepare for their quarter-final with Spain

laurent blanc
Laurent Blanc was appointed as France's manager in 2010 Photo: Valentin Trijoulet

laurent blanc

Laurent Blanc has described Newcastle United’s Yohan Cabaye as “indispensable” ahead of France’s quarter-final tie against Spain on Saturday.

The 26-year-old is set to earn his 16th cap in the last-eight tie after the midfielder impressed in France’s 1-1 draw with England and their 2-0 victory over Ukraine in the group stage.

Cabaye scored five goals and managed eight assists in 38 games for Newcastle after moving to St James’ Park from Lille in June 2011.

“Cabaye is indispensable in terms of how he played in the first two games in the competition, absolutely,” said Blanc.

“We know players like Cabaye bring a lot to the team. You realise how much players like that bring when they are not actually there.

“He has such great technical ability which really helps the side, gives us a bit more assurance, because we can keep the ball and move it about.

“He has been an important player for a while now – both with his club and the national side.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal centre-half Laurent Koscielny is set to replace the suspended Philippe Mexes for the Spain clash.

“It is a big chance for him. When a player doesn’t play, you are always disappointed and I know the feeling from my own experiences,” added Blanc.

“But we have only three central defenders and I always said that if we got through the group that Laurent would have a role to play.

“It is a chance for him. He will be very well prepared, was very close to getting into the starting XI, and now that will happen.”

Pre-match facts: Spain v France

• These teams have faced each other on 30 occasions, starting with a friendly meeting in Bordeaux in April 1922 which Spain won 4-0. Overall Spain hold a narrow advantage in the head-to-head stakes with a record of W13 D6 L11.

• Spain have won three of the last four encounters, the exception being France’s 3-1 win in the round of 16 of the 2006 World Cup. That result gave France a record of five wins and one draw from competitive fixtures against Spain.

• France were unbeaten in 23 matches before losing to Sweden in their last group fixture. It was the second-longest sequence without defeat in their history.

• Since their defeat by France at Germany 2006, Spain have lost only three of 46 competitive European championship and World Cup fixtures and won 40 of them.

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