Maradona: France's stars must shine to stand a chance against Spain

Laurent Blanc's men go head-to-head with the world champions on Saturday in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, and the Argentine legend is predicting that La Roja will progress
Diego Maradona has stated that France's midfield and attacking players must put in a memorable performance for Les Bleus to stand a chance against Spain on Saturday.

The Euro 2012 Group D runners-up face Vicente del Bosque's world champions in the quarter-finals, with La Roja the favourites to progress.

The Argentine coach feels the French side's chances will depend on the likes of Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery, who will need to find the net on Saturday.

"France have two bright stars in Real Madrid’s striker Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery," the South American observed in his Times of India column.

"On a dark night like this, the stars will have to shine if France are to defeat world and European champions Spain. Ribery can be unstoppable at times, dribbling and passing with pace and genius. Benzema is a lethal finisher, although he hasn’t shown it in his championship as yet.
Spain v France preview

"If France are to win this crucial game, and remain in the tournament, Ribery and Benzema will have to hook up successfully for at least one goal," the Al-Wasl boss predicted.

Spain's midfield is loaded with world-class stars who use overwhelming possession to break teams down. And Maradona has highlighted the importance of France's players in the middle of the park and their role of winning back the ball.

"Defensive midfielder Yohan Cabaye had been very effective for the French, even scoring if necessary, and he will have to put in a huge performance as he faces the Spanish Armada.

"France will be without crucial midfielder Jeremy Menez and might replace him with Yann M’Vila. But Manchester City genius Samir Nasri has talent to burn, and with M’Vila, Alou Diarra will have to try to upset the constant ball control of the Spanish.

"It’s simple when you have players of the talent and calibre of [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi, [Cesc] Fabregas and [David] Silva. These four musketeers will control the game, and France will have to find their lone D’Artagnan if they are to defeat them, " he concluded.