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KELLY BACKS ENGLAND

Posted on 12 November 2005  - 12:00

Stephen Kelly knows all about the challenge facing the England Under 21 side when they take on France at the Lane on Friday - and backs them to come good on the night.

Stephen Kelly knows all about the challenge facing the England Under 21 side when they take on France at the Lane on Friday - and backs them to come good on the night.

Steo was a member of the Republic of Ireland Under 21 team that met the French in the qualifying group stage, making him well postioned to make an assessment on the possible outcome of the European Championship play-off first leg.

"Over there they beat us 1-0 and scored in the 89th or 90th minute," recalled the captain of the Republic side. "On the day I thought we were the better team and played really well. They were lucky to get the goal, it came from a corner which took a deflection off one of our players and went in.

"We played them back in Ireland and we went ahead after about ten minutes before they came back and beat us 2-1. We played well again and probably should have got a result.

I think England have to be confident going into this game and I feel they should come through

England have good players and have every chance of beating France.

"The French are good passers and are quite rigid in their formation. Like they senior team they can come up with a bit of magic but, all in all, we caused them a lot of problems and England will do the same."

In conclusion, Steo - who describes Franck Ribery who he was marking as sharp, quick and very tricky - suspects it will be England who will take an advantage to the Stade Marcel Picot in Nancy on Tuesday.

"I would say an England win. France are not the sort of team who will take a big beating, but if England play well they could win 1-0 or 2-0."