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The France forward sees himself as a leader of the squad and says the side is setting out to perform in every game for the public, despite being held to a 1-1 draw against England

 Martin Langer
 In Kiev, Donetsk, Lviv, Kharkiv

EXCLUSIVE

France forward Karim Benzema has admitted that England made it difficult for Les Bleus to play attractive football in the style of Spain in Donetsk on Monday.

Roy Hodgson's team held France to a 1-1 draw in the opening game of Euro 2012's Group D and while Benzema could not hide his disappointment at failing to secure victory, he also emphasised the positive of taking a point.

"We have had good preparation; we were ready for this match," Benzema told Goal.com. "It's a shame that we drew, but ultimately it's a good point.

"It was very hot, and was physically very difficult for us. We will now try to win against Ukraine."

Benzema reiterated his belief that a new-look France side are playing better football despite being held by a determined Three Lions side.

"France now play a bit like Spain, it is normal that we try to imitate them, because Spain play with a very nice style of two touches, and it is certainly a role model," he explained.

"But obviously, as it also happens to Spain, it is complicated when you play against teams that are waiting for you and put men behind the ball, [as is] what has happened today."

The Real Madrid striker also admitted that he sees himself as a leader of the national side and added that after the controversy surrounding previous French teams at major tournaments, this incarnation of Les Bleus would play for their fans.

"I consider myself a leader of this team, and shout more than when I play with Real Madrid, but it also had to do with really wanting to win this game," he said.

"We are a good group of players and we win for the people, not for the press or for us."

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