France coach Didier Deschamps admitted that his players have still not digested their defeat in the Euro 2016 final but suggested that winning this summer’s World Cup might change that, after Les Bleus beat Belgium 1-0 in the semifinal on Tuesday, ESPN quotes.
It was only two years ago that France reached the European Championship final on home soil, only to lose to Portugal in extra-time, and Deschamps told TF1 that result was still weighing on the team’s minds.
“Yes, we are in another final — two years ago, I remember what happened two years ago,” the coach said after Tuesday’s victory. “We will go into this final to win it, as we have still not gotten over the [Euro] final.”
Samuel Umtiti scored the only goal of the game in Saint Petersburg as Les Bleus kept the Belgians at bay and Deschamps, who captained the 1998 World Cup champions, was pleased for his young squad.
“It is something exceptional — I am very happy for my players,” he said. “They are young, but there is character, and mentality — it was tough for them against this Belgium side. This game belonged to the players.”
Umtiti was also looking to exorcise the ghosts of Euro 2016.
“We didn’t win the Euros final, so that’s why it’s close to my heart now to reach this level at the World Cup,” he said. “I hope it’s going to be different this time, I hope we will able to bring the World Cup back to France.”
Olivier Giroud, who is still without a goal in Russia, revells in his childhood dream of reaching a World Cup final and hopes to emulate 1998 hero Zinedine Zidane. “It is a childhood dream — we are proud to share it with all of our friends, and the French people,” the Chelsea man told
TF1. “It was not easy, but we
went and got it — now, there is one match left, 90 minutes. It is an
unforgettable moment — I remember Zizou at the Arc de Triomphe,
and I hope that we will have
our chance.”