Escude stokes England rivalry
Julien Escude insists France will not be treating their meeting with England as a friendly.
By Francisco Acedo
Last Updated: 25/03/08 1:55pm
France defender Julien Escude insists his side will not be treating their meeting with England in Paris on Wednesday as a friendly.
Escude believes the match at the Stade de France, which can be seen live on Sky Sports 1, will provide the perfect warm-up as Raymond Domenech's side prepare for Euro 2008.
France - who will be without Thierry Henry, Karim Benzema and Patrick Vieira due to injury - and England have experienced a long standing rivalry and Sevilla centre-back Escude recognises the status of the encounter.
"A match against England always has a lot of prestige due to the quality of the rival," Escude told Skysports.com.
"Due to this circumstance, we are preparing for the match with much detail and the clear objective is a victory.
"France have some absences, but we posses a team with the power to win against any rival.
"For the Euros this is an excellent test. I believe that it is necessary to prepare for this competition against the best."
Escude, though, has admitted his disappointment that England have not qualified for this summer's Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.
However, Escude is confident manager Fabio Capello - who will take charge of his second match after February's victory over Switzerland - will revive England's fortunes.
"The absence of England in this European Championship is a negative for football," Escude continued. "But they developed a bad phase in qualification and other teams merited qualification.
"But I insist England posses a sensational squad. Capello is a big coach and I am convinced the Italian will move England to a good level."
Escude, though, is adamant that France will not be intimidated by David Beckham as the midfielder is expected to secure his 100th international cap after being omitted from Capello's squad for the victory against Switzerland.
"The return of Beckham is not a problem for us," Escude added. "The danger of this player is not the unique risk of England."