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Euro 2012 Group D preview: Ukraine v France

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Jun 2012

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France insist they have everything in their own hands ahead of Friday’s battle against Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine.

Laurent Blanc’s men, who are unbeaten in 22 games, were held to a 1-1 draw by England in their opening clash, while Ukraine prevailed against Sweden.

And speaking before their next match, French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said destiny was in his team’s hands, while reflecting on previous experiences, noting the side had come a long way since the 2010 World Cup.

“Taking stock, things have gone well and been pretty positively up until now, especially when compared to South Africa 2010, which still weighs heavily on our shoulders,” Lloris told FIFA.com.

“We could have defeated England, and if we beat Ukraine, we’ll be top of the group. The chance is there and it’s totally in our hands.”

The Lyon shotstopper also acknowledged playing in front of a cauldron of Ukraine supporters would be a tough proposition.

“Playing the hosts in front of their home crowd is always tricky, and the Ukrainians have a good team. I’m confident, though, because of how we fought back against England,” he said.

“We showed a lot of character, which is something that can take you a long way.”

The pairing of veteran duo Andriy Shevchenko and Andriy Voronin is expected to cause plenty of headaches for the French.

Shevchenko bagged a double to lead Ukraine to a 2-1 win over a much more fancied Sweden outfit, his first brace since November 2004 against Turkey.

And together with Voronin, who worked tirelessly in the front third, the pair are a force to be feared.

France dominated the midfield battle against England and the like of experienced midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk need to be at their best to quell the influence of Samir Nasri and Frank Ribery.

Despite their opening victory, Ukraine are yet to beat France in any form of international football, with the 14th-ranked nation winning two of the previous three and it may just play on the mind of manager Oleh Blokhin.

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