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Pires hopes France draw reinvigorated England at Euro 2020

03:40 GMT+3 30/11/2019
Antoine Griezmann Albania France Euro 2020 Qualifiers
France are in Pot 2 for Saturday's draw and the Arsenal legend would embrace the challenge of facing the Three Lions

Robert Pires hopes France are paired with a reinvigorated and "motivated" England in the Euro 2020 group stage.

Both sides finished top of their qualifying groups to get their name in the hat for Saturday's draw in Bucharest.

England will host a total of seven matches in next year's finals and are in Pot 1, while France - despite being world champions - are in Pot 2, having finished the qualifying phase having dropped five points.

Former Arsenal winger Pires would like to see his native country face off against Gareth Southgate's side, who he believes will be a big threat in the tournament.

"What's for sure is that we're going to draw a big team because unfortunately we're in Pot 2," he told Omnisport, speaking as part of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour driven by Nissan.

"Which one I would like to play against? France-England would be nice. 

"I think that we're strong but the English are having a renaissance and Southgate has built a good team, quite young, with a bit of experience and they can be a good surprise during the next Euros. 

"And as you know the final is in London so they will be motivated."

One team Pires is eager for France to avoid is Spain, who qualified for the competition with an unbeaten record that sets them out among the favourites.

"The team to avoid is always Spain," added Pires, who won the World Cup and European Championship during his playing days.

"They remain very strong, they're very skilled and they cause problems to us every time."

Pires, who earned 79 caps in all for his country, was a member of the France squad that won the 1998 World Cup and then the European Championship in 2000 - the first team ever to back up world success by winning the continental gong.

Now Didier Deschamps' vintage will hope to do likewise, though after just squeezing by Turkey in the qualifiers to finish in top spot, Les Bleus will have to raise their game to make an impression next summer.