Having recorded four wins on the spin and not tasted defeat since going down 1-0 to Belarus in September 2010, France will certainly fancy their chances of Euro 2012 glory in Poland and Ukraine.
After the embarrassment of the World Cup in South Africa two years ago, in which at one point the players refused to train, Laurent Blanc has overhauled the squad since his arrival, blending a mix of youth with experience.
A former international himself, Blanc knows what it takes to win this tournament, having lifted the trophy with Les Bleus in 2000, two years after helping the nation win the World Cup on home soil in 1998.
While the likes of Spain, Germany and the Netherlands will be on most peoples’ lips heading into the competition, this French side could certainly ruffle some feathers among the favourites.
With this in mind, here are three excellent antepost selections involving France which new customers can back with their free £25 bet for registering with bwin.
France 1st, England 2nd in Group D (@ 17/5, free £25 bet wins £110)
After a pretty miserable performance at both Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, in which the side failed to progress out of their group on both occasions, this time around France should have enough to make it through to the knockout stages.
Unbeaten in their last 21 games, Blanc’s squad look by far the strongest team in Group D, despite some concerns at the back and being dealt a blow with midfielder Yann M’Vila missing for at least the first game due to an ankle injury.
England should provide Les Bleus with their toughest test, but with a number of injuries themselves, and having lost to France in four of their last five meetings, Roy Hodgson’s side look like they will have to settle for group runners-up.
France are also unbeaten in their six encounters with hosts Ukraine, while you have to go back to 1969 for Sweden’s last victory against Les Bleus, so they should have the mental edge over their group opponents.
France to record nine points in Group D (@ 9/1, free £25 bet wins £250)
As highlighted earlier, Les Bleus have an impressive record against the sides in their group and if they can overcome England on Monday evening, they should be well placed to gain maximum points from their three games.
Blanc’s side are favourites to win their opening group match (27/20) and of their 21 games without defeat, they have chalked up 15 victories, including friendly wins over England, Brazil and most recently a 2-1 success away in Germany.
Unlike in recent tournaments, this France side appear to have a real togetherness and a great team spirit, while they all fully seem to be firmly behind their manager, which certainly wasn’t the case when Raymond Domenech was at the helm.
Despite some concerns about their defensive qualities, Les Bleus more than make up for it in attack and with the likes of Ligue 1 top scorer Olivier Giroud and Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa coming into the squad, defences will have a tough job keeping this side at bay.
Karim Benzema to be tournament top scorer (@ 10/1, free £25 bet wins £275)
Having burst onto the scene with some impressive performances as a youngster at Lyon, Benzema was rewarded with a big-money move to Spanish giants Real Madrid back in the summer of 2009.
After initially struggling to settle at the club during his first two seasons, the forward appears to have found his feet this term, demonstrated by an impressive return of 32 goals in all competitions for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Understandably, teammate Cristiano Ronaldo has been grabbing all the headlines this season, but defences should underestimate Benzema at their peril and he displayed his ability once again on Tuesday evening with a brace in France’s 4-0 victory over Estonia.
He is currently the focal point of the France attack, has 15 goals in 45 appearances for Les Bleus and will be looking to make up for lost time after being left out of the World Cup 2010 squad by Domenech.
At 10/1, Benzema offers great value as the tournament’s top scorer and with England up first, the 24 year-old will be hoping for a second career goal against the Three Lions after he opened the scoring at Wembley when the sides met in November 2010.
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