France Vs. Belgium, 2011 International Friendly: France Look To Close Book On Unbeaten Year

Karim Benzema of France celebrates with Jeremy Menez after scoring the winning goal during the International friendly match between France and Brazil at Stade de France in Paris France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

France are, thus far, unbeaten in 2011 and only this match with Belgium stands between Les Bleus and a perfect year. Belgium are high on confidence and will be looking to ruin Frances plans for perfection.

Coming off of a victory over the United States of America, France look to continue their unbeaten run. Laurent Blanc's side have yet to lose in 2011 and a victory at the Stade de France against Belgium would close the book on a perfect 2011. 

However, Belgium will have other ideas and should be full of confidence after a 2-1 win over Romania last week. Belgium earned a victory in their last trip to France, way back in the 2002 World Cup Qualifying, and will be looking for a similar result today.

Belgium will see stars Thomas Vermaelen and Eden Hazard return to the lineup, but will be without Genk midfielder Kevin De Bruyne who picked up an illness prior to the trip to Paris. Additionally, goalkeeper Thibault Courtois could be in line to make his international debut. The strongest portion of the Belgian side is, arguably, the defense which features Vincent Company and Vermaelen in the center with Jan Vertonghen sitting in front of them.

France will most likely stick to the 4-4-2 formation that Blanc ran out against the USA. Kevin Gamiero will probably be dropped in favor of Loic Remy, who will partner Karim Benzema in attack. Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye seems to have recovered from a knock and could feature in central midfield for Les Bleus. Additionally, Eric Abidal returns to the defense and Hugo Lloris could find himself on the bench in favor of Steve Mandanna as Blanc attempts to find his strongest squad ahead of Euro 2012.

France struggled without a midfield playmaker against the USA and they may well continue to struggle in this match. The potential return of Cabaye is a big boost, but Belgium boast a talented midfield capable of dominating the French. The Red Devils will likely field Marouane Fellaini, Steven Defour, and Axel Witsel in a three-man midfield, which will likely cause the French problems. 

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