Deschamps upbeat ahead of World Cup qualifiers

'VERY SAD': Griezmann - wondering what could have been after Portugal scored the winning goal - says France have to come back stronger for the next major challenge ahead.


    Jul 12, 2016

    Deschamps upbeat ahead of World Cup qualifiers


    TIPPED to emulate France's 1984 European champions and 1998 World Cup winners, the Griezmann Generation's bitter Euro 2016 final defeat by Portugal will take some getting over.

    After sweeping past world champions Germany in the semi-finals, the stage was set for Antoine Griezmann and his team-mates to lead France to a third major tournament triumph on home soil.

    Despite losing Cristiano Ronaldo to a first-half knee injury, Portugal prevailed 1-0, courtesy of Eder's extra-time strike at Stade de France on Sunday, bringing Didier Deschamps' side to their knees.

    "This squad has a big future but we should have won this Euro and we didn't," said Griezmann, who finished as the tournament's top scorer with six goals.

    "We are very sad, a bit annoyed, but that's football.

    "Sometimes it gives, sometimes it takes away.

    "We have to come back stronger and be ready for the World Cup qualifiers."

    Deschamps and the French Football Federation made a bold pre-tournament decision to drop Karim Benzema after he was charged with a plot to blackmail international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

    It was a move that was vindicated as France, spearheaded by Griezmann, romped to the final, only to fall short at the last.

    But Deschamps will welcome back several strong characters during World Cup qualifying, including three centre-backs - Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho and Jeremy Mathieu - who all missed the tournament.

    "It's hard to be optimistic tonight but it augurs well for the future and hopefully it will be exciting," said Deschamps.