England v France
Wednesday, November 17th
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England have confirmed that they will be taking on France in an international Friendly in November, which will constitute as their final match of 2010. For a year which will be remembered for nothing more than a miserable World Cup campaign, the time has come for England to rebuild under coach Fabio Capello, and there were positive signs that he was ready to put some trust in youngsters during a 2-1 International Friendly victory over Hungary recently. Wednesday, November 17th will see the two teams go head to head at Wembley, with England having a good head to head record against the French. England have won 16, drawn four and lost seven. There are three far more important games preceding that one for the new look England. England’s Euro 2012 campaign kicks off on September 3rd against Bulgaria. That match is at Wembley, and will be the first competitive match for Capello since crashing out of the World Cup to Germany. England then face a tricky away match against Switzerland on September 7th, before their last Euro 2012 qualifier of 2010 coming against Montenegro on October 12th. So now that the fuss and furore of the 2010 World Cup has died down, there are a busy couple of months ahead for Fabio Capello and England. They have a comfortable draw in their European qualification group, and there can be no room for error.
France, who suffered an even worse 2010 FIFA World Cup than England, failing to make it out of the group stage against South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay, are a team in transition themselves. Former coach Raymond Domenech, who was never popular with the French fans, has departed to make way for Laurent Blanc, who enjoyed a successful domestic season with Bordeaux. As well as not managing to qualifying for the second round of the World Cup, the squad became fractured when Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka apparently had words to say to the coach during one of the matches. Because of his supposed ill-discipline in speaking out about how poor France were doing, he was sent home from the World Cup in a cloud of disgrace. That wasn’t the end of it though, as his dismissal sparked a revolution by the rest of the squad, which resulted in them boycotting the next training session. Subsequently, Anelka has been banned for 18 matches by the French Football Federation. Similarly, Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery have also received lesser bans for apparently not fulfilling their roles as captain and vice-captain respectively. So France will be missing these banned players for the start of the Euro 2012 campaign.