Koscielny: England Clash Like a Final
France defender Laurent Koscielny concedes losing their opening Euro 2012 game with England would be a 'disaster'.
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Koscielny is fully aware of the importance of the Group D clash with Roy Hodgson's men and he admits Les Bleus will be treating it like a final.
Arsenal centre-back Koscielny believes they cannot afford to lose their opening game and that facing England first in the group was the worst-case scenario for Laurent Blanc's troops.
"Our first match is like a final for us," Koscielny told the Daily Mirror. "To play against England is the worst possible draw but it will be an enormous chance for us to progress if we win.
"We can't afford to lose. Normally you might expect France and England to qualify for the second phase but football never works like that.
"We know this is like a final because defeat would be a disaster."
Koscielny admits he is relieved he does not have to face the suspended Wayne Rooney in the game against England.
"The absence of Rooney is a joy to us," added Koscielny. "He is a brilliant player, such a talent.
"But England have quality.
"It will be strange to play against Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. But Arsenal is one thing, France another.
"We've had a lot of jokes about playing against each other from being on the pitch together and in training at Arsenal.
"But while we laughed and joked, when the game comes it will be very serious and we must win the game. We all know that."