France v Sweden Betting Tip France win/Benzema to score – Tuesday 19th June 2012

Karim Benzema (France)
Karim Benzema (France) © GEPA pictures

France v Sweden

A point will be enough for France but they know if they can win, and win handsomely, they will top the group thus avoiding the Spanish in the quarter finals. After a very average performance against England in their opening game they were far more stylish, powerful and impressive when defeating Ukraine 2-0 on Friday. Jeremy Menez made a difference with his pace and dribbling, grabbing the opening goal and turning in a man of the match performance. His inclusion ahead of Florent Malouda was not the only change, however, as captain Patrice Evra was dropped for Gael Clichy. It shows the kind of manager they have in charge now; Laurent Blanc won’t accept players underperforming no matter how many caps they have. Karim Benzema done a lot of good work for his team but is yet to open his account in this tournament. Providing he continues working as hard and remains confident, the goals will come as he is getting into good positions.

Sweden are already out but they will be playing for pride on Tuesday so a French victory is not a foregone conclusion by any means. Despite going a goal down to England on Friday they fought back and took a 2-1 lead only to lose two late goals and record back to back losses from their first two matches in Euro2012. Zlatan was frustrating as he was selfish on more than one occasion when a pass to a team-mate was the better option. There is no doubting the man’s talents but he must be so frustrating to play with. Sweden’s frailties in defence were also evident with Olaf Mellberg – playing his last match for his country tomorrow – looking a yard shot of where he once was. I highlighted their lack of pace previously and Walcott exploited it. I won’t be surprised if the likes of Menez, Benzema and Ribery see this as a perfect chance to build up some confidence ahead of the quarter finals.

Sweden matched England in an attacking sense so France will have to be wary of the threat the Swede’s pose. I imagine France will have most of the ball like they did against England and Ukraine but the difference between those two games was the inclusion of Menez. He was more direct and played close to Benzema which provide more space for the Real Madrid striker. Sweden will have to be careful they don’t allow their opponents too much of the ball in their own half because the French looked much more threatening second time around in these Championships.

Benzema is too good a striker to go through the group stages without a goal and he will get opportunities against this Swedish defence, so he interests me. I also think France will win comfortably so combine the two.

France to win and Benzema to score 3pts, 5/2 @ BlueSquare

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