- Ukraine couldn’t have asked for a better start in their first match. Two goals from Andriy Shevchenko saw Ukraine over come Sweden and now they’ll be riding the wave of euphoria into this match. France present a much tougher challenge and they’ll need to play better then they did against the Swedes. In that match Ukraine allowed Sweden into the game after they took the lead as their midfield failed to shut down space . They were only let off the hook by some wayward finishing. The match was won only because of the intelligence of Shevchenko’s movement, otherwise they were pretty average. Against France they’ll probably try to shut them down high up the pitch and force them into a mistake. They are not going to play against France like the English did, they are a more open side and like to try to attack. With the home crowd behind them they will look to keep them on side by taking the game to the French. That could backfire for them but it would be unthinkable to think they would just sit back and allow France to run the game.
- France will most likely dominate possession in this match. Their midfield is superior in terms of technique to the Ukrainians. Manager Laurent Blanc may stick with the same line-up that faced England but will make a call on whether to replace Alou Diarra with Yann M’Villa who missed the previous match through injury. Diarra played well against England and did not misplace one of his passes. But M’Villa offers a bit more in terms of link up play, he has the ability to help in the transition from defense into attack. Against England France’s attacking trio (Nasri, Benzema and Ribery) did look a little isolated from the rest of the team. They needed more support from Cabaye and Malouda and that’s something that M’Villa can offer. Malouda’s place may also be under threat as he offered little to the French attack or build up, Marvin Martin or Jeremy Menez could take his place. Blanc still looks like he’s trying to find the right balance for his team. So it wouldn’t be a shock if there were 2-3 changes in the line-up.
- Mathieu Debuchy had a great game for France against the English. The Lille right back got up and down the wing well and helped offer width to the attack. He also dealt with the threat of Oxlade-Chamberline well as the match went on. Another good performance from him will see the transfer speculation continue as he’s already been linked with a move to Newcastle United or Chelsea.
- The battle between Phillipe Mexes and Andriy Shevchenko will be an interesting one. Mexes’s form has been called into question on more than one occasion and he is still yet to convince at the back for France. The calls for Laurent Koscielny to be included at his expense get louder and louder but have fallen of deaf ears. Look for Shevchenko to really test Mexes, he’ll target him when crosses come in and try to unsettle him by backing into him to gain a physiological advantage.