England defeat would be disastrous for France, admits Arsenal defender Koscielny

France cannot afford to lose their opening game at Euro 2012 to England, the Daily Mirror has reported Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny as saying, as a defeat would threaten to ruin the rest of their campaign.

The two nations meet on June 11 in their first group game of the tournament, with the 26-year-old Gunners centre-back revealing France intend to play the match as if it were the final itself. Koscielny, confirmed in Laurent Blanc’s 23-man party this week, added that playing England is France’s nightmare scenario.

Our first match is like a final for us. To play against England is the worst possible draw. We can’t afford to lose. We know this is like a final because defeat would be a disaster. Our first objective is to get out of the group and to lose the first game would make it very difficult,” Koscielny said.

Injury problems in France’s defensive unit mean Koscielny, who has only one cap to his name going into Euro 2012, could start against England, in direct competition with Andy Carroll, who is expected to lead the line for Roy Hodgson in the absence of Wayne Rooney. In the first meeting of the season just ended between Arsenal and Liverpool, Koscielny and Carroll’s respective clubs, the defender was forced off after 16 minutes through injury.

When the sides met again later in the campaign Koscielny played the full 90 minutes but Carroll was only an 89th minute substitute, introduced after Robin van Persie’s late goal had put Arsenal in front. The England striker had little impact, however, as Arsenal held on for a 2-1 victory at Anfield.

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