2 July 2014 23:45
France are playing with a chip on their shoulders at the FIFA World Cup, according to defender Mamadou Sakho.
Two-nil down after the first leg of a European qualification play-off versus Ukraine, it appeared the 1998 winners would not even make the trip to Brazil.
But Didier Deschamps’ side have reversed their fortunes in stunning fashion since, winning the second encounter 3-0 before making a splash in the competition proper.
Indeed, they will face Germany in Friday’s quarter-final on the back of three wins and a draw in four games so far.
And Sakho has revealed the secret of their success is playing with an anger derived from how close they were to missing the showpiece event.
“Of course I still have the rage inside me from that game,” he said. “We all have a little bit of that rage inside of us.”
Sakho reports a team, too, brimming with confidence ahead of their all-European last-eight clash.
“We’re a very young team with new players,” Sakho said. “We’ve instilled a new spirit into the team — off the pitch, first of all — and it reflects on the pitch.
“We know that Germany is a big team, a big football nation. But we’re also very good and I believe in us.”