France warm up for England clash with Serbia win
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Laurent Blanc's France team recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over Serbia in a friendly match on Thursday as the team continues its preparations for EURO 2012. Les Bleus face England in their first match of the tournament in Donetsk on June 11.
REUTERS - France beat Serbia 2-0 in a Euro 2012 warm-up game to stretch their unbeaten run to 20 matches but it came at a price with midfielder Yann Mvila suffering an ankle injury that forced him off the pitch after five minutes on Thursday.
Mvila broke down in tears when he was replaced after twisting his right ankle, leaving the stadium on crutches before returning to the bench without them in the second half.
However, France coach Laurent Blanc said he was confident the holding midfielder would be ready to face England in their opening Group D match in Donetsk, Ukraine on June 11.
France prevailed on Thursday with early goals from Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda as they played eye-catching, free-flowing football in the first half.
“In the first half we did a lot of nice things offensively, that was positive,” coach Laurent Blanc told French TV channel TF1.
“The players were in better shape than against Iceland (in a 3-2 win on Sunday). We were better physically but we are not ready yet, we suffered in the last 15 minutes.”
Blanc was disappointed that Mvila, who is poised to start at the tournament, only managed to play for a few minutes but was optimistic that he would recover in time for the England match.
“We can think that he will be fit for the first game. His participation in the tournament is not in question,” he said.
France doctor Fabrice Bryand said Mvila had suffered an ankle sprain and would undergo a further examination.
“The ankle is not broken. It’s reassuring. We, however, need 48 hours more to say if he will recover in time for the Euro,” he said.
France went ahead against Serbia in the 11th minute when Ribery volleyed home after goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic parried a Gael Clichy effort into the path of the Bayern Munich winger.
Four minutes later, Malouda struck a fierce drive from 30 metres to make it 2-0.
France continued to push hard for more goals but failed to breach the Israel defence again and gradually ran out of steam.
Les Bleus face Estonia in a friendly in Le Mans on Tuesday.