Mexes suspension could prove a blessing in disguise for France

After a shock defeat at the hands of Sweden, France must now beat Spain to advance to the semi-finals of Euro 2012, and are priced at 4/1 to do so.

Their loss to the Swedes was France’s first in 24, and their performance was particularly lacklustre and lethargic in its nature.

What may prove a positive from that match though, was the yellow card Philippe Mexes picked up, his second of the tournament, meaning he will be suspended for their quarter-final clash with the reigning World and European champions.

AC Milan defender Mexes was shoddy to say the least against Sweden, and has often been touted as the weak link in Laurent Blanc’s side, long before this competition got underway.

Indeed, there were occasions on which he was exposed even during France’s tournament opener with England, despite the Three Lions failing to create many chances of note in that outing.

A further positive from Mexes’ suspension meanwhile, is that his likely replacement, Laurent Koscielny, will come into the side on the back of a particularly impressive season for Arsenal.

A key component as his team finished third in the Premier League, Koscielny surprised many with his dominant and consistent displays at the Emirates last term.

The 26-year-old’s international career is relatively infantile, as the former Lorient man has only three caps to his name, but he will be eager to grasp his opportunity and become a regular fixture in Blanc’s side.

He will also take confidence from the colossal display he turned in against Barcelona a year ago, Spanish champions at the time he competed against them, and eventual winners of the Champions League that season too.

Koscielny was immense in a 2-1 Gunners success over the Catalans in 2011, and as Barca players dominate the Spanish national side, he will hold no fears when renewing acquaintances with them this Saturday.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.