France manager Laurent Blanc issues warning to defenders ahead of Euro 2012

 

France coach Laurent Blanc gave his defenders a Euro 2012 wake-up call despite seeing his side ease to a 4-0 victory over Estonia in their final warm-up game last night.

Karim Benzema scored twice and Franck Ribery and Jeremy Menez were also on target as Les Bleus extended their unbeaten streak with a commanding performance in Le Mans.

There were moments of concern for the hosts, however, with Estonia enjoying several chances to open the scoring in the first period.

Blanc insists those early scares were all self-inflicted, and called on his back four of Mathieu Debuchy, Adil Rami, Philippe Mexes and Patrice Evra to raise their game.

"I'm not going to beat around the bush. Our defence was not good enough," Blanc told reporters.

"It was an easy game, very easy... I said to them, 'This is not your day - the team is dominating out there and yet we're getting ourselves in trouble'.

"You have to understand that it wasn't the opposition that was causing us problems. We have to have a long hard think about what happened out there.

"The most important thing, whether you're playing up front, in midfield or in defence, is to play simple.

"We didn't do that in the first half and we found ourselves in trouble.

"They need to improve, and I'm talking about all four defenders."

 France were due to fly out to Ukraine today before opening their European Championship campaign against England on Monday.

France's run of form since Blanc took over at the start of the qualification campaign for Poland and Ukraine has many tipping them as dark horses for the title.

But Bayern Munich midfielder Ribery - who has scored in his last three internationals - is refusing to look any further than his side's Group D programme, which also includes matches against Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine.

"We all want to go as far as possible in the Euros, but the aim is to get past the group stage," he said.

"We mustn't rush into this game against England. We've still got a few days. First and foremost, we want to get to Ukraine and settle into our hotel, start training and preparing."

Asked about his productive partnership with Real Madrid striker Benzema, Ribery added: "It's very good with Karim. We can find each other with our eyes closed. What's more, we get along really well away from football in our everyday life.

"When we play like that, it's great. It's just carrying on from my form with my club this season.

"I would have liked my relationship with the France team to have always been this good.

"For me to score three goals in three games is just incredible."

Last night's triumph followed a 2-0 win over Serbia and a 3-2 victory over Iceland in France's first two warm-up games, and Benzema added: "It's important to win, but also to play well.

"We're looking good after three very good matches. We're ready for the Euros."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat