MADRID (Sporting Alert) — France striker Karim Benzema has admitted that the suspension Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is a big blow for England, but remains wary of the threat the “Three Lions” can pose even in his absence.

Rooney has been banned for the first two games of the EURO 2012 tournament and he will be a massive miss for England.

Despite this, however, Real Madrid forward Benzema is expecting a tough contest from the new-looked Roy Hodgson’s side when England and France meet at the Donbass Arena on June 11.

“It’s true that England will play without Rooney,” Benzema was quoted as saying.

“But it’s a great team which is used to playing in those big tournaments.

“They have the players to replace him so we need to be at our best for the first game (and) try to feel good, something we have been doing for the past year and a half.”

England and France were drawn alongside Sweden and Ukraine in Group D of the tournament.

After the France clash, they will take on Sweden before closing the group stages against Ukraine on June 19.


Walter Hoyos joins SportingAlert as contributor for Spanish football and the Spain national team. I like to travel, one of the favourite things on my list, but I also like to just spend time with family and friends when I am not covering football games. Hope to dump into some of my readers some day.

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