Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The France squad in training yesterday.
The France squad in training yesterday.

Euro 2012: Laurent Blanc says France have put arguments behind them

La Roja have never beaten Les Bleus in a competitive match, but the French have had internal problems after their shock defeat to Sweden.

DONETSK, UKRAINE // Laurent Blanc, the France coach, says his side needed "serenity and distance" ahead of tonight's quarter-final against Spain.

They got the distance, having returned to the east of Ukraine from Kiev after the dressing-room blow-out which followed a first defeat in 24 matches, against Sweden in their final pool match.

Donetsk is just 60 kilometres from the Russian border and the French have been based here for the duration of the tournament.

With little to do in this industrial city other than train, it was perhaps little surprise a few players needed to blow off steam.

Whether they have found the "serenity", which the French tour party have been at pains to say exists this week, will be seen when they meet the world's No 1 side at the Donbass Arena.

"We know where we've come from and where we're going," Blanc said yesterday. "It's true that there was tension in the dressing room and reactions like that are never good to hear.

"You have to try to calm people down, or speak to people the next day to establish a calm. The paradox is that we qualified for the quarter-finals.

"We were disappointed with the result and I had to try to calm everyone down, but I told the guys we have an interesting match to prepare for. You need serenity and distance."

Hugo Lloris, France's undemonstrative captain, said the serious business of a meeting with the world champions ensured the cross words were not allowed to linger.

"Everyone can say what they want in the dressing room," Lloris said. "It is normal that there is a reaction when you lose, but I wanted us to concentrate on [tonight's] game as soon as possible."

Despite their troubled build-up, the French have good reason to feel optimistic. The defeat against Sweden did not stop them from progressing from the pool stage, and their form previous to that under Blanc's stewardship had been outstanding.

Further, Spain have never beaten France in a competitive fixture and Les Bleus were the last team to eliminate them from a major international tournament, at the World Cup in 2006.

The French infighting has not gone unnoticed by their opposition. Spain, too, have often been accused of having a fragile peace within their own ranks, given the fierce rivalry during domestic matches between their contingent of Real Madrid and Barcelona players.

"In a competition like this, the objectives are more important than any conflicts in the dressing room," said Sergio Ramos, the Madrid defender.

"Arguments happen in any family, any home and dressing rooms are similar. Once the match starts, it won't matter. I think they've already forgotten it. They've said they're concentrating on Spain."

Vicente del Bosque, Spain's manager, reckons the form of his side's opponents before their most recent outing will be more of a guide than what went on in the immediate aftermath of it.

"The match they lost against Sweden was not really telling about anything," Del Bosque said. "Before that they went a long time without losing; this is what we have to focus on. Some players can be difficult to cope with, but as long as they play well on the field, that is the important thing."


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike puts Al Jazira on verge of qualifying for the last 16 of Asian Champions League

All to play for across East Asia during final round of group phase.

 Manchester City's Vincent Kompany reacts after being sent off by referee Lee Mason during their English Premier League soccer match against Hull City at the KC stadium in Hull, northern England March 15, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Man City’s Manuel Pellegrini says Vincent Kompany is an important player

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini defends team captain and talks about team's injuries ahead of clash with Sunderland at home on Wednesday night.

 Supporters of China during the Asian Cup Qualifier match between Iraq vs China at Sharjah football stadium in Sharjah. Iraq won the match by 3-1. Pawan Singh / The National

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.

 Latifa Ali Al Shamsi of UAE fights compatriot Boshra Ghanem Al Zadjali in their 38.5kg match at the Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Christopher Pike / The National

Competitors at Abu Dhabi Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship target world domination

All of Wednesday’s winners at the tournament, being held in the UAE capital, are ambitious enough to target a black belt and reach the pinnacle of the sport, Amith Passela reports.

 Jacques Kallis top-scored with 72 for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Pawan Singh / The National

Kallis kicks off IPL 7 with fifty as Kolkata thrash Mumbai

South African legend shows class is permanent as Knight Riders beat defending champions by 41 runs. Osman Samiuddin reports from Abu Dhabi.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National