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‘Crazy’ France seek balance for Euro quarter-finals

Monday, 27 June 2016

Olivier Giroud (R) headed down into Antoine Griezmann's path, who slammed home the winning goal four minutes later
Olivier Giroud (R) headed down into Antoine Griezmann’s path, who slammed home the winning goal four minutes later

Didier Deschamps says ‘crazy’ France must strike a balance for the Euro 2016 quarter-finals after a half-time bust up inspired their 2-1 comeback win over Ireland.

There were heated words in the French dressing-room in Lyon at half-time after an early Robbie Brady penalty put the Irish 1-0 up at the break.

With the hosts starring down the barrel of an early exit, Deschamps read his side the riot act, while senior players demanded more from Les Bleus.

“We had a bad first half, but a few things were said at half-time,” said Antoine Griezmann, the man-of-the-match, who scored both their goals.

“It was stormy.”

Deschamps admitted he raised his voice at half-time to demand his side raise the tempo as flared tempers translated into a swift fight-back.

The call-to-arms was answered in emphatic style as Deschamps deployed Kingsley Coman on the right wing and moved Griezmann closer to striker Olivier Giroud.

The tactical switch worked a treat as Atletico Madrid’s Griezmann powered his header home on 68 minutes.

Ireland struggled to contain France’s new-found energy. Giroud headed down into Griezmann’s path, who slammed home the winning goal four minutes later.

The Irish were reduced to ten men after Shane Duffy’s red card for a foul with Griezmann through on goal.

France could, and should, have scored a third, but only their finishing let them down, which is a concern for the quarters.

Freed of his duties on the right wing and moved into the forward position he fills at Atletico, Griezmann cut an impressive figure in the second half.

He wants to continue in the role in next Sunday’s quarter-final against England or Iceland.

– Complicated formation –

“The manager brought Kingsley on, he caused some damage, I was closer to the striker and I hope we continue that way,” said Griezmann.

“I don’t care if I play on the left or right or in the middle.

“But it’s true that being further up the pitch is where I normally play, so it’s easier for me.”

After four matches at Euro 2016, Deschamps is still undecided on his ideal starting side.

While he has played the same back four in all of their games he has tinkered with the midfield and attack.

Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko is knocking on the door in midfield having impressed in the goalless draw with Switzerland.

Changes will be enforced for the last eight with midfielder N’Golo Kante and defender Adil Rami suspended after bookings against the Irish.

“It’s complicated,” said Deschamps.

“Just look at the Germans, they have also changed things around a lot.

“Our opponents only have to look at the TV to see the way we are playing, so it’s important to have different solutions.

“We sometimes need to shake things up and the second half was a lot more fluid.

“Antoine showed his skills in front of goal.

“I know he likes to play up front, but we need to find a balance, we were more balanced up front in the second half.

“Now we’ll have to think about how and who to play in the quarter-final.”

France will hunt a semi-final place next Sunday at the Stade de France and Deschamps expects more drama.

“You shouldn’t be too calculated. The players need discipline but sometimes we’re better when we go a bit crazy,” said the French boss.

“We really speeded things up and that’s when we are most dangerous.”

“This team is making the crowd fall in love with them.”

Source by: AFP

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