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Watch out for England at Euro 2012 says ex-Bleu

  • 20 Apr 2012
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WARSAW (AFP)
The European trophy stands on a plinth at the draw for the Euro 2012 championships in Kiev

England's management woes should not lull their Euro 2012 opponents into a false sense of security about poor team morale, former France international Christian Karembeu warned on Friday.

"I know how when you keep changing the captain of a ship, it's hard to stick to the same parametres and have the same crew," the former Bleus' midfielder, now 41, told AFP during a visit to Warsaw, capital of Euro 2012 host nation Poland.

"But there's always talent in England, so on the contrary, I think they'll be able to rally round. I know that their fighting spirit is real," said Karembeu, who lifted the trophy in 2000 along with team-mate Laurent Blanc, now France manager.

Critics have repeatedly urged England's Football Association to wrap up their protracted hunt for a new manager, with the European championships less than 50 days away.

Italian Fabio Capello resigned as England manager in February after the FA stripped John Terry of the national team's armband amid claims of racial abuse.

France, England, Sweden and Poland's fellow host nation Ukraine have all been drawn in Group D at the 16-nation tournament, which kicks off on June 8 in Warsaw and ends with the final in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on July 1.

England and France open their group campaign against one another on June 11 in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

While warning that England should not be underestimated, Karembeu, who is a goodwill ambassador for Euro 2012, said he had high hopes for France thanks to a run of 18 consecutive matches without defeat.

"There's a tendency to see things as if it was 2010," he said, referring to France's shambolic World Cup campaign in South Africa which was marked by a player revolt against then coach Raymond Domenech.

"But we're in 2012. Laurent Blanc has been the boss for two years. He's pumped new oxygen into the team, a new order, and I think this generation, whether it's (Franck) Ribery or (Hatem) Ben Arfa, is booming," he added.

"We have a solid chance of going very far."

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