Laurent Blanc’s France travel to Romania on Tuesday evening knowing a victory would all but mean they could book their flights to Poland/Ukraine. Les Blues have gone twelve games unbeaten and are edging ever closer to Euro 2012. After Friday’s victory over Albania, they now lead Group D by three points ahead of Bosnia.
Romania will be buoyed by Friday’s victory over Luxembourg, just their second win in the group.
Blanc is wary of complacency though and has urged his players to put in a professional performance in Romania “I’m satisfied with what we’ve produced, but we have one target, which is to be through, and that’s not the case yet,”
After losing his first two matches in charge of the national side, Blanc was put under severe pressure but has silenced his critics with a run of 12 games unbeaten and now near certain qualification. The style of play and the performances have improved according to the former Man United defender and he is happy with the way his side are playing. “I have the feeling that we’ve improved recently in terms of creating more chances”
France won the corresponding fixture in Paris back in October 2-0 after late goals from Loic Remy and Johann Gourcuff. The two countries were also paired in the same World Cup qualifying event and the two games finished in draws while they took each other on in Euro 2008. That game also finished as a scoreless draw.
Romania have won their last two games, one friendly and one qualifier. Back in June, they were beaten by South American sides Paraguay and Brazil after beating Bosnia in May.
Last 5 games: WWLLW
As mentioned France are unbeaten in twelve games and it will be a big task for the home side. Wins over Albania, Poland and Ukraine were wedged in between draws against Belarus and Chile.
Last 5 games: WDWWD
Romania boss Victor Piturca will be without Friday’s hero Gabriel Torje. He scored both goals in their win over Luxembourg but also picked up a yellow card meaning he is suspended for the game. Adrian Mutu and Gabriel Tamas are also both suspended but are banned permanently after breaching team rules before the friendly against San Marino last month.
Laurent Blanc has been handed a defensive boost with the return of Adil Rama after missing Friday’s game through suspension. Marvin Martin is tipped to return to the side with Karim Benzema likely to start up front on his own.
Razvan Rat v Karim Benzema
The Romanian captain plays for Shakhtar Donetsk and following Chivu’s retirement, the centre half has had to lead the side. He will be very busy on Tuesday evening and if successful in keeping Benzema quiet then this side could be in with an outside chance of getting something from the game. Mind you, he will need to keep an eye on all of France’s attacking players including Malouda and Nasri in order to get a good result.
Did you know? Tuesday’s match will be the first to be played at the new Stadionul National. It will host the 2012 UEFA Europa League Final.
Home win 3/1
Away win 10/11
Group D winner- France 1/9 Romania 12/1
Other games: Bosnia v Belarus & Luxembourg v Albania
Prediction: Despite Romania’s recent form and the huge hype surrounding the first game in their new stadium, France should be too strong but it will be very close and a draw isn’t a bad bet considering the two countries have a record of sharing the points