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Saha: England will lose without Rooney

The out-of-contract Tottenham forward has tipped his countrymen to beat Roy Hodgson's Lions, with Real Madrid goal-machine Karim Benzema to score

Outgoing Tottenham Hotspur striker Louis Saha has warned England that it will lose its opening Euro 2012 game against France without star man Wayne Rooney.

The Manchester United star will miss his nation's first two Group D games, against les Bleus and Sweden, after receiving his marching orders against Montenegro in England's final qualifier last October for a petulant kick aimed at Miodrag Dzudovic.

The 26-year-old's suspension was initially for all three group matches, but it was reduced by UEFA by one game after an appeal from the FA, but Saha feels his former Manchester United teammate's absence will be felt.

"We can take heart from the absence of Rooney," he told The Sun. "Frankly, this gives us more of a chance. Wayne is a huge talent. It does us a lot of good to know he won't be there against France."

And Saha, went on to warn that Real Madrid hitman Karim Benzema, who scored 32 goals in all competitions for the Spanish champions last season, will be a constant menace to the England defense.

"I think it will be a beautiful victory for les Bleus. I see a double from Benzema or, at least, I’m hoping for that."

France and England kick off at 12:00 p.m. ET on Monday.

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