Ben Arfa And Cabaye Start For France Against Iceland

Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa has been named to start in France’s first Euro 2012 warm-up game, against Iceland in Valenciennes today (Sunday).

Ben Arfa – after scoring wonder goal against Bolton Wanderers

The France manager Laurent Blanc has named his starting eleven a full 24 hours before the game, and this will be a big chance for the mercurial Frenchman, who is joined in the starting line up by his Magpies team-mate Yohan Cabaye.

The 8 times capped former Lyon and Marseilles winger,  has been in top form for Newcastle United this year, and the game today is an excellent opportunity for the 25 year-old to finally make a final French squad.

For both the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland in 2008,  and the World Cup in South Africa two years ago – Ben Arfa did not make the final cut.

And Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye, who had an excellent first season  in the Premier League for Newcastle,  starts in midfield along with Gourcuff, Manchester City’s Nasri, Ben Arfa, Jérémy Ménez and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

This could be third time lucky for Ben Arfa and we hope it is,  and he is fighting it out with players like Franck Ribéry, Jérémy Ménez and Florent Malouda for a place in the final 23.

The Frenchman has shown he can be a match-winner in any game, and has  scored  two magnificent solo goals this year for the surging Newcastle United side, against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers.

25 year-old Gourcuff has 28 caps, but has made only 23 appearances and just 10 starts for Lyon this season, and he has been continually plagued by injury, and Blanc may decide not to risk the Lyon midfielder in Europe.

Newcastle target Mathieu Debuchy of Lille starts at right back and Red Devil Patrice Evra is on the left hand side, with the two center-backs being Adil Rami, who has 17 caps and has been on loan at Lille from Valencia,  and Milan’s 30 year-old Philippe Mexès.

Lille’s first choice keeper Hugo Lloris is left out, and Marseille’s 28 year-old Stève Mandanda, who has 14 caps, gets a chance between the sticks, with Bordeaux keeper Cédric Carrasso on the bench.

This is the French starting line-up against Iceland:

Mandanda; Debuchy, Rami, Mexès, Evra; Cabaye, Gourcuff, Nasri; Ben Arfa, Benzema, Ménez

Blanc is expected to announce his squad of 23 maybe after today’s game,  and then France play Serbia in Reims on Thursday night,  and then Estonia in Le Mans on 5th June,  just 6 days before they meet England in the first game of Group D.

And Roy Hodgson made a wining start as England manager last night, as England beat Belgium 1-0, with a goal from Manchester United winger Ashley Young after just 9 minutes, and captain Steven Gerrard putting in a good performance for England in central midfield.

Comments welcome.

30 comments so far

  • OBrien94

    May 27, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Comment #1

    So good to see them start they earned it

  • kenzie

    May 27, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Comment #2

    Hope he plays as well as we know what he is capable of.

  • SupaToonKid

    May 27, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Comment #3

    Ed you always get Lyons & Lille mixed up! Lloris plays for Lyons not Lille.

    Hopefully Benny does really well & him & Cabaye start for France at the Euros also hopefully we can get a deal done for atleast Mathieu Debuchy before the Euros (fingers crossed).

  • alanrichie

    May 27, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    Comment #4

    Is this game been showin on SKY or ESPN or anything?

  • davybtoon

    May 27, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    Comment #5

    If there is any player we want at the euros n we don’t get a deal done b4 the tournament we won’t get them bcoz we won’t go into a bidding war

  • ToonDownSouth

    May 27, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Comment #6


    You’re point is assuming they have a good tournament haha.

  • petesull

    May 27, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Comment #7

    See fenderbache have been linked with making a bid of 6 mill for Marvin Martin …… At this price he’d be a steal…..

  • jesperfuglsang

    May 27, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    Comment #8

    Since we payed less for Cabaye I wouldnt say Marvin is a steel at 6 mil.

  • petesull

    May 27, 2012 at 6:33 AM

    Comment #9

    In jan he would have been at least 12- 15mill…

  • petesull

    May 27, 2012 at 6:36 AM

    Comment #10

    And only for his buy out clause he would of cost over 10 mill ….. Getting him for 5 or 5.5 mill was great business I know…… But we were lucky that he had a buy out clause

  • Klatoon

    May 27, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    Comment #11

    Looks like Cabaye will be DM, wasted there IMO

  • Toon-Barmy

    May 27, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    Comment #12

    Does anyone else think we should sign Salomon Kalou from Chelsea?
    I think he would be a great addition to our squad, he seems to fit Ashley’s profile:

    Age 26 (27 in August)

    League Stats:
    339 games
    105 Goals
    40 Assists

    He also has 16 Goals in 46 Games for the Ivory Coast.

    Premier League: 2009–10
    Champions League: 2011-2012
    FA Cup: 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12
    Football League Cup: 2006–07
    FA Community Shield: 2009

  • petesull

    May 27, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    Comment #13

    Is gourcuff not there holding midfielder…..put 20 on France yesterday for outright winners….. 11-1…… Could be the surprise team this year

  • ~Perchinho the Pheonix~

    May 27, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #14

    Marvin Martin would be a good acquisition for 6mill, however midfield is not a priority for us this window.

    The club should focus more on getting our defensive problems sorted with the acquisition of a Rightback and a center back and possibly even a striker, especially if Ba leaves. This all would be better done before the tournament. Afterwards we can focus on snapping up good deals for other positions.

  • ~Perchinho the Pheonix~

    May 27, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Comment #15


    No thanks. I think he is a tad bit overrated and having three forwards (if ba stays and we did sign Kalou) all going to ACON will be a huge problem for us.

  • Klatoon

    May 27, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Comment #16

    Gourcouff’s an all-out playmaker

  • jakesome

    May 27, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Comment #17

    Not to be one of those douche’s who points out every little mistake but we beat Norway last night, you do a very good job ed and this is not meant to sound bitcy

  • Rotonda heights

    May 27, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Comment #18

    kalou is horrendous. Always in 3 minds and always take the wrong option, losing possession in the process. Rare bits of brilliance can’t mask his deficiencies.

  • pizzicatochan

    May 27, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #19

    someone said Carr was spotted at the Swiss game. have u guys heard of anything in concrete?

  • Marty-Toon

    May 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Comment #20

    Kalou is a headless chicken….
    ED,England didn’t beat Belgium it was Norway in Oslo

  • darrenfletcher88

    May 27, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #21

    How much fire power have France got like, it’s scary pace and power what we lack,if they all keep there heads 11-1 Dosent sound bad at all,

  • GeordieoftheSouth

    May 27, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #22

    Is it wrong to have more interest in the France match than England??


    May 27, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #23

    Has anyone got any links for the game this evening!

    Kick-off 8pm GMT!

    It may be on Eurosport but i,me not sure!

  • Davey_H

    May 27, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #24

    ESPN has the game, as you say kick off 8pm.

    I might watch that rather than soccer aid at least this is a proper football match, not some nancies prancing around the pitch.

  • geordiesteve520

    May 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #25

    Anyone else see that Barnetta ripped Germany apart with three assists last night. If we are lining him up on a free, could turn out inspired.

  • JP...from The Rock

    May 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #26

    Marvin Martin for just 6M!!! SIGN HIM UP NOW!!! I thought 10M was reasonable at 6 it’s insanely good. We should not hesitate at that price for such a talent, and he’s french and will link up perfectly with the rest of the lads here.

    Please Pardew go for him!

  • Jam only For H.ben Arfa

    May 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #27

    Hello everybody,
    the game would display on TF1 tonight, french canal (clear),

    I’m a french man like Hatem, origins Tunisia

  • ElliIceland

    May 27, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Comment #28

    I hope what HBA and Cabaye play well, but Iceland is going to win this cap.

    Go Iceland ( and HBA & Cabaye )

  • matias

    May 27, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Comment #29

    Well done Benny! Became one of the most visible players as the first half advanced. Only made a couple of questionable decision but that was after his team put him into a difficult position. Nice link up with Benzema too.

    Yohan was good too and did get a few shots in.

    On this evidence both will get playing time in Ukraine.

  • Levi

    May 27, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Comment #30

    how is the relationship with ben arfa and benzema now cause they play great together. maybe they are proving that team mates dont have to be mates


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