Spain forward Alvaro Negredo has admitted he would rather have played England than France in their Euro 2012 quarter-final tie.
Vicente del Bosque’s men scraped past Croatia 1-0 in their final Group C game to progress in top spot, with England winning Group D after they beat Ukraine and France lost to Sweden.
Sevilla’s Negredo acknowledged that to win the competition you must beat the best teams, but suggested the French would pose a tougher examination of their credentials than Roy Hodgson’s men, despite the return of Wayne Rooney.
“To be champions you have to play against the biggest teams,” he told Europa Press.
“France are a big team. They have a lot of talent. For me they are stronger than England, but that’s a personal opinion.
“Even though England have Rooney back, if I had to choose I would prefer to play against the English.
“It’s impressive that without their most important player (Rooney), they have been able to qualify. England have a lot of players at a high level.”
Karim Benzema has failed to score at the tournament, which has resulted in the France striker receiving criticism from some quarters.
However, Negredo insists although the Real Madrid ace is struggling to find the back of the net, he is still crucial to his country’s hopes in Poland and Ukraine.
“(Benzema) is in great form,” Negredo said.
“Even though he is not scoring goals, he is giving other things to the team, playing as a false nine.
“He drops off well, is difficult to mark and is very important to the French team. Benzema is a very good striker who gives a lot of good things to France.”
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