KEIR RADNEDGE in MARSEILLE: France coach Didier Deschamps is concerned that his team have one day fewer than rivals Portugal to prepare for the Euro 2016 final in Saint-Denis on Sunday.
Cristiano Ronaldo & Co saw off Wales by 2-0 in Lyon on Wednesday night, 24 hours before Les Bleus defeated World Cup-holders Germany by the same score on an emotional occasion in Marseille.
Antoine Griezmann scored both French goals to become the tournament’s six-goal leading marksman and now have restricted time to relax, refresh and rewind for another tension-packed confrontation in the Stade de France.
Deschamps knows all about the stresses and strains of tournament competition having captained France to victory in both 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship as well as managing his country to the World Cup quarter-finals in Brazil two years ago.
After France’s first competitive victory over the Germans in 58 years, he said: “Now we have three days. It’s a very short time, one day fewer than Portugal. There isn’t so much difference between having four or five days between matches but there is a definitely a difference having three or four days.
“Early in the tournament we had seven days between matches which was too much. But that’s how is it. You can be sure I’ll make sure that even if it’s to make up one or two or three per cent that we’ll do everything in our power to go to the final in the best condition.”
Deschamps also appreciated the wider picture that French fans needed something to cheer them after the terrorist outrages and labour unrest.
He said: “What we’ve done tonight is great and I’m delighted for the players and also then when you see the fervour and passion in the stands and in and around the ground. This team has everything it takes to be loved. The players are performing well on the pitch and I’m very proud of them.
“I know it’s a great story: French players making history by knocking out Germany in a semi-final. We have been able to generate a lot of emotion so our people can forget their worries for some moments. There’s been a lot of passion and fervour and, I think, a lot of happiness all over France.”
That level of support manifest itself in the way French fans turned out at the training ground on Wednesday and again when the squad set out en route for the Stade Velodrome.
Deschamps said: “Yesterday and today again there were so many people smiling and waving their flags for us. They were all behind us and that’s very important, also when the stadium is like that. So it was natural that the players, at the end, went to thank the whole stadium.
“When I wore the French shirt it was the greatest thing that’s happened to me in my professional life. Perhaps that’s not always been the same since but these players are now well aware of the reality of what they give to the people by wearing the French national colours.”
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