Printer Friendly

Don't do 'England' ...and be naive, France! World Cup winner De French pals that Iceto spring quarte esailly warns eland are out r-final shock; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: STEVE STAMMERS

FRANCE v ICELAND QUARTER-FINAL

Saint-Denis, Paris, today kick-off 8pm, Live on ITV1

BE naive like England and you will lose to Iceland.

That is the stark warning from Marcel Desailly as France prepare to face Roy Hodgson's conquerors in the quarter-finals in Paris tonight.

Desailly's compatriots are hot favourites to reach Thursday's semi-final in Marseille.

But Desailly knows from his own personal experience that a place in the last four is anything but a certainty against the shock team of the tournament.

He was part of the France squad that won the World Cup in 1998 in France (right, with Zinedine Zidane), and then followed it by becoming European Champions two years later.

But the double was not achieved without several scares - and two were inflicted by England's conquerors from Iceland.

In their first competitive match after winning the World Cup, France drew 1-1 in Reykjavik in their Euro 2000 qualifier - thanks to an equaliser from Christophe Dugarry.

Desailly missed that game, but played in the return fixture France 13 months later when France led 2-0. Iceland pulled them back to 2-2 and only a late winner from David Trezeguet helped avoid the embarrassment of a play-off to reach the finals in Holland and Belgium.

Desailly admitted: "The Iceland team then are like the Iceland team of today.

"Just as they were 17 years ago, they are the same now.

"Iceland are physically strong and they are well-organised.

"They have a style of playing and they stick with it.

"England were very naive when they played them.

"They did not defend the set-pieces well.

"Iceland have shown in this tournament that they are strong from those situations and yet they scored from one.

"We must not make the mistakes.

"England did not press well in the midfield. Again, we must learn from that."

Desailly made it clear that Iceland must not be underestimated by the French.

"Look at their results, not only in this tournament, but also how they got to the finals," said Desailly.

Iceland beat Holland home and away in qualifying, as well as registering wins against fellow finalists the Czech Republic and Turkey.

"They are improving all the time.

"If France do not focus 100 per cent, then what happened to England could happen to them." But Desailly is encouraged by the re-shuffle of the France midfield by manager Didier Deschamps at half-time during the match against the Republic of Ireland, which saw Paul Pogba have a more central role where he could have more influence on the game.

"Paul looked better there, he was able to show his skills and have more influence," said Desailly, who was also impressed by the match-winning impact of Antoine Griezmann.

It was suggested that the Atletico Madrid star was suffering from a Champions League Final hangover at the start of the French campaign.

Griezmann missed a penalty against Real Madrid in that match and his early form was less than impressive.

But his recovery was evident with the two goals that eliminated the Republic, who led 1-0 at half-time.

"It was obvious that he doesn't feel the pressure," said Desailly. "He moved closer to the striker and scored two goals."

But Desailly finished with a further warning.

He said: "This has been a tournament for the smaller countries.

"Everyone was saying there would be many 3-0 and 4-0 results involving those teams. That has not happened - and that is why Iceland are in the last eight.

"They have played well - and France must give them respect."

16 France are unbeaten in their last 16 major tournament games played on home soil, winning 14 and drawing two. Their last defeat dates back to July 1960 in the inaugural European Championship against Czechoslovakia (0-2) LIKELY LINE-UPS FRANCE ICELAND LLORIS SAGNAUMTITIKOSCIELNYEVRA MATUIDIPOGBA halldorsson saevarsson skulason arnason r sigurdsson bjarnason g sigurdsson gunnarsson gudmundsson bodvarsson sigthorsson CABAYE PAYETGIROUDGriezmann

CAPTION(S):

ICE AND A SLICE Devastated England stars and Roy Hodgson (inset)

GRIEZ LIGHTNING Antoine Griezmann made a huge impact against Ireland
COPYRIGHT 2016 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2016 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EXIC
Date:Jul 3, 2016
Words:670
Previous Article:DESCHAMPS: SURPRISE IS IN THE AIR.
Next Article:SAEV'S PAY RISE.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |