Euro 2012 group stage matches continue Monday, and another big game is on today – England vs. France. The game can be watched on ESPN live, or through online streaming (details below).
- (Photo: Reuters/file)
The game is a pivotal one in Group D, with both England and France underachieving in major tournaments in recent years.
England had a fantastic qualifying campaign but since then nothing has seemed to go right. Fabio Capello resigned, and new boss Roy Hodgson has had just over a month to prepare for this tournament – not exactly the best preparation for the England team.
Hodgson has admitted the England team feels the "weight of history" on their shoulders as they begin the campaign in Donetsk on Monday. "We have not won as many tournaments as we should have done. We all feel that weight," he said.
"There is nothing we can do to take that weight from our shoulders, except to embrace Euro 2012 and make certain we are not afraid of it," Hodgson added. "We have to believe in ourselves and the players should go out as they do every week in the Premier League in similarly pressurized situations playing in front of 50, 60, 70,000 fans with quite a lot of expectation and weight on their shoulders."
Preparations for the England team were concluded with a final training session in heat at the Donbass Arena and Hodgson's first competitive match as manager of England is set to begin.
France will prove a stern test of his credentials, and France has had the better of results between the two teams in recent years. However, they are not a team without their problems. Laurent Blanc has managed to being the team back together after huge dissension in the ranks under the previous manager at the World Cup.
Despite France's better record against England in recent years, Hodgson remains confident. He has said, "I'm happy with what we've achieved in these first 39 days. I don't think the players could have worked harder for me in the training sessions to become a team.
"You could say we haven't had as long as we would have liked to put the team together but, on the other hand, these lads have played with each other on many other occasions.
"I'm not convinced if we had had more time we would have been better prepared."
The England vs. France game kicks off at 12 p.m. ET June 11, and will be screened live from the Donbass Arena in Donetsk live on ESPN. It can also be watched live online through streaming on ESPN3 by clicking HERE.