Euro 2012 Betting: Consistency is the key
There are signs this summer that Blanc is coaxing more consistent brilliance from the Bayern Munich play-maker.
Michael Lintorn believes Franck Ribery is finally delivering consistently for France and in doing so will ensure Ukraine's stay at the top of Group D is brief.
France are unbeaten against Ukraine (W3 D3)
There are a couple of Opta stats prophesising doom for Laurent Blanc's side, including that they have never beaten a European Championship host in two prior attempts and are winless in eight matches at major tournaments.
However, the positive trends such as the head-to-head one detailed above and the fact that their current 22-game undefeated streak is their longest since the one enjoyed under World Cup 1998 winner Aime Jacquet are encouraging enough to suggest that they should be trusted at odds greater than evens.
In their last clash, last June, France won 4-1 at the Donbass Arena thanks to a brace and an assist from late substitute Marvin Martin
That heavy score-line followed a 2-2 draw when the pair met in Kiev in 2007 and - coupled with all four teams in Group D having found the net in their opening fixtures - hints that both could concede again in Donetsk. Blanc was critical of his defence in their warm-up matches, the goals conceded to trail Iceland 0-2 a particular low point. They conceded a header against England and Ukraine, having scored twice in such a fashion past Sweden, will hope to experience similar joy.
In his last four appearances for France, Franck Ribery has scored three goals and set up another two
Ribery's performances as a late addition to the France squad that reached the World Cup 2006 final saw fans pin their hopes on him as the nation's new star following Zinedine Zidane's retirement, yet too often since he has flattered to deceive, causing fractures in that relationship. There are signs this summer that Blanc is coaxing more consistent brilliance from the Bayern Munich play-maker though, as he halted a three-year international goalless run with strikes in successive friendlies with Iceland, Serbia, Estonia built on with an assist for Samir Nasri's equaliser against England.
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