With the important clash of Group D set to be underway on Monday, Goal.com tells you all about the key battles on the pitch which can tilt the game either way.
Cabaye is a traditional box-to-box midfielder and possesses excellent vision, great ball control and provides great technical quality to the team. Pardew described his transfer as “unearthing a hidden gem”. His role in Newcastle United’s success was pivotal. Cabaye is also adept at taking penalties and his ability from set pieces is next to none. His match up against Scott Parker will be really interesting. Parker is a tough tackling central midfielder who is known for not letting players stroll past him. He is well known to give players a run for their money with his great vision and defensive style of offence. His never-say-die attitude, his ability to retain position and shoot accurately from a long distance is very advantageous for England. He has amazing psychological qualities and perhaps that is the reason why he was chosen to be the interim captain against Netherlands (friendly). Cabaye vs Parker will be one of the more important battles on the pitch.
Benzema is an incredibly talented footballer who from the start of his career, has been tipped to succeed France’s hero, Zidane. He possesses great pace and is an incredible poacher, with an excellent abilty to finish a creation with a goal, which most clubs are looking for. He is an absolute asset for France and if they are looking to fire and win against England (which they have been since 1999), Benzema will have to fire.
England will be hoping, powerful Chelsea captain John Terry, contains Benzema and prevents him from running all over the English defence and scoring rampantly. The Chelsea defender has excellent abilty in the air and has the desire to stop a shot anyhow. Terry will have to make sure Benzema doesn’t get the space he requires to score.
France has more notably played attacking football while England has played more rigid football with possession being a primary aim. This matchup would be interesting and very determining.
English forward Danny Welbeck and French defender Philippe Mexès will be involved in another key battle provided both the players play the match. Welbeck will be able to use his pace and trickery to undo Mexes. Because of Welback’s pace and strength he is tough to deal with in the box. The 21 year old Englishman is a versatile player whose abilities led him to relegate club seniors Hernández and Berbatov to the bench. He can be effective on the wing or at center forward. The young man will be looking to prove himself if given a chance. Mexes has spent much of his career in Italy with Roma and A.C. Milan, and is regarded as one of the top defenders. Mexes is a strong tackler and will try to contain Welback’s pacy movement. The Frenchman’s skill in the air also makes him a formidable opponent for the English attack.
Ribery has a point to prove at Euro 2012. The player dubbed by Zidane as ‘the jewel of French football’ was supposedly one of the instigators of the player strike at the 2010 World Cup. For his country, his off-field antics have greatly suppressed his on-field abilities. He is swift and is an excellent dribbler as he has great control with the ball at his feet. In recent months, Ribery has improved even more. A stellar season with Bayern Munich and searing form in the warm-up friendlies have served to underline that. The man to stop the in-form winger will be Liverpool’s right back Glen Johnson. Johnson is an excellent defender who possesses wonderful pace. He is almost a defender only in name as he provides good attacking potential down the right flank and thus is one of the greatest threats to the French team down their weakened left.
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