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In-form France have outside chance of causing tournament upset

| 26.05.2012

A squad mutiny and three winless games meant France’s last major tournament venture was a complete disaster, but they look much better-equipped heading into Euro 2012 as 11/1 shots.

That last tournament performance, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, came under the stewardship of Raymond Domenech, a man whose coaching methods are notoriously controversial.

Now though, with Laurent Blanc at the helm, the French squad is a far more cohesive unit, and they will carry tremendous form to Poland and Ukraine.

Under Blanc, France have lost just twice in 20 matches, and the former Bordeaux boss has led his country to 12 victories in that time, as they topped their qualifying group for Euro 2012.

Their most recent outing saw them complete a highly impressive success in a friendly away to Germany, who themselves had a 100% record in qualifying for the upcoming championships.

A characteristic of Blanc’s squad selection during his tenure meanwhile, has been his penchant to choose players based on form, rather than their ego.

An example of this is Olivier Giroud, who repaid his manager’s faith with a debut international goal, after a string of superlative Montpellier performances contributed to his side’s surge to the Ligue 1 summit.

Now, the striker is attracting the likes of Manchester United, and with an eagerness to impress on the big stage, he could be worth a punt at 66/1 to land the Golden Boot, should France go far.

Those less confident in France’s ability to make a splash in the latter stage of the tournament though, should still take advantage of their odds to progress from Group D.

With much patriotic money coming in to support England’s advancement, the French are 1/2 to reach the knockout stages.

Ukraine and Sweden are the other accompanying group sides, but Blanc’s men should have enough to continue their recent form and win the group at 13/8, and may spring a surprise in the knockout stages too.



John Klee