After things 'kicked off a bit' following Sweden defeat, France clear the air

 

France assistant coach Alain Boghossian insists the squad are united for tomorrow's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Spain after holding a late-night team meeting following their shock 2-0 defeat by Sweden.

Les Bleus surrendered top spot in Group D to England after seeing their 23-game unbeaten run ended on Tuesday, and head coach Laurent Blanc admitted things "kicked off a bit" afterwards in the dressing room.

But that was followed by a meeting of the squad and staff back at their Kiev hotel and Boghossian is adamant the players are all pulling in the same direction.

He said: "After everyone had a cold shower and time to cool off we sat down together at the hotel and talked things through face to face.

"Everybody said what he needed to say. That was important because it's like with a couple in that if you don't talk to each other, things can build up.

"I'd have been much more worried if there had been no reaction at all and what happened after the game in the dressing room was normal.

"We should have beaten Sweden and won the group, but we didn't perform.

"That there are exchanges after such a defeat is totally normal. For me, that is wholly positive. The air has been cleared and everyone is happy and getting on well."

Boghossian, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, added: "It is true we are considered outsiders because Spain are champions of Europe and won the World Cup.

"But we will try to make some problems to this very good team, try to create some problems and find some weak points.

"Now it is a new start, a new beginning for our players, we will forget the negative result on Tuesday and open a new page.

"They are together, they laugh together but they don't want to repeat the performance against Sweden when they face Spain.

"During the training since the Sweden game we have given a lot of attention to our last match and how we can improve our game.

"We know the team of Spain is very strong and we have to prepare right and be right on our game for this match."

Boghossian is confident striker Karim Benzema will break his scoring duck.

The Real Madrid player failed to find the net in the three group matches, although he helped set up both goals in the 2-0 win over Ukraine.

Boghossian said: "He will try to show his best against Spain. They are strong but he will try to attack and show his quality.

"He has tried during all the matches to score goals and make goals.

"He did not manage to score and so was a little bit sad about it and a little frustrated.

"Strikers want to score goals but he will try to make amends against Spain. We know he is a quality player."

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny could earn a recall against Spain as Philippe Mexes is suspended after collecting his second yellow card of the tournament against Sweden.

PA

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