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Vieira: France-England losers 'in trouble'

ESPN staff
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Patrick Vieira believes the loser of France's opening game against England will be "in big trouble" and almost certainly heading out Euro 2012.

Former France midfielder Vieira, who won the European Championship in 2000 after landing the World Cup in 1998, believes that while both sides are evenly matched, history favours the French.

Vieira, who played in England for Arsenal and Manchester City, said of the Group D clash: "The team losing that game will be in big trouble - and I hope it's England.

"England have not beaten France when it really matters in a tournament for 30 years (3-1 in Bilbao at the 1982 World Cup).

"There is always going to be a time for records like that to fall, but I hope it will not happen this summer."

Vieira believes that both sides have problems they must overcome ahead of the high-profile match, but the side that can quickly unlock the talents of their star performers will win.

"It's very difficult to say who are favourites - they are two teams who will fear each other," the 35-year-old told the Daily Star.

"France have problems at the back after losing Abidal and Sagna, while England will miss Rooney. Who is going to supply that bit of magic for them?

"But both teams have real talent. England still have players who are proven at international level - and Joe Hart is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

"And France have high hopes of Karim Benzema. With Real Madrid he's shown he can be at the same level as Messi and Ronaldo. In a big tournament the key will be to unlock those talents."

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