Blanc: Cabaye return is crucial
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Head coach Laurent Blanc has hailed the impact of Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye as France prepare for their UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final with Spain in Donetsk.

After the 2-0 defeat by Sweden in Kiev on Tuesday, a big plus will be the return of Cabaye, who was rested against the Swedes after impressing in the 1-1 draw with England and 2-0 victory over Ukraine.

Blanc said: "Cabaye is indispensable in terms of how he played in the first two games in the competition, absolutely. We know players like Cabaye bring a lot to the team. You realise how much players like that bring when they are not actually there.

He has been an important player for a while now - both with his club and the national side.
Laurent Blanc on Yohan Cabaye

"He has such great technical ability which really helps the side, gives us a bit more assurance, because we can keep the ball and move it about. He has been an important player for a while now - both with his club and the national side."

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is poised to replace the suspended Philippe Mexes, with Blanc confident the 26-year-old will be up to the task. He said: "It is a big chance for him. When a player doesn't play, you are always disappointed and I know the feeling from my own experiences.

"But we have only three central defenders and I always said that if we got through the group that Laurent would have a role to play. It is a chance for him. He will be very well prepared, was very close to getting into the starting XI, and now that will happen."