8 July 2014 07:24
Mamadou Sakho believes renewed interest in the France national team will prove beneficial ahead of Euro 2016.
A divide between France and the nation’s supporters has appeared in the past decade following sub-par performances and high-profile player revolts.
But France seem to have reconnected with their fans after Didier Deschamps’ men reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, losing out to Germany in the last eight.
France returned home to a hero’s welcome and defender Sakho was taken aback by the level of support, something he believes will aid the team when they host Euro 2016.
“It’s touching to see all the fervour surrounding the France team,” the 24-year-old told TF1. “It’s great to see France supporting their team like that. We love it.
“We wanted to do something really great, something wonderful, at the World Cup, and even though we’ve come home without the trophy, we struck a chord with the French public and that’s what we need to focus on.”
France gained plenty of admirers for their brand of football at Brazil 2014 – scoring 10 goals en route to the quarter-finals – before they were bundled out 1-0 by Germany in Rio de Janeiro.
Sakho said his team-mates were determined to build on their exploits at the World Cup, with upcoming international friendlies against Spain, Serbia and Portugal, and Euro 2016 just two years away.
“After the defeat, we got together and had a look at the images of this great adventure. It will remain a great moment in everyone’s memory,” he said.
“We really bonded as a unit, with the players and the staff going through some very intense experiences together. It was tough to go our separate ways on a losing note, but now we’ll rest up and that will do us a lot of good.
“We’ll concentrate on our upcoming fixtures, and obviously Euro 2016, which will be held in front of our fantastic fans.”