12 October 2014 05:39
Several France stars talked up the team’s solidarity following their 2-1 friendly win over Portugal on Saturday.
The French national team infamously blew up at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with players boycotting training in a horror period under coach Raymond Domenech.
With the team culture under scrutiny, and the likes of Nicolas Anelka’s international career ending as a result of the disharmony, Les Bleus have built a positive vibe around the national team on the back of teamwork and character.
Two quarter-final appearances at major tournaments, at Euro 2012 and the World Cup in Brazil, have helped them regain some momentum.
And midfielder Paul Pogba – who scored against Portugal – said he and his team-mates have rediscovered their team ethic in recent times.
“I am not surprised by our level of performance. During training, the way we live together, we are feeling great. I am not surprised by it,” the Juventus man said.
“We want to win everything. That’s it. We want to be as good as possible.
“At one point, we forgot we were the French national team. The French national team has always been a great nation. We have to show it against the biggest teams.”
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane said the group’s attitude was helping them get results, while he also hailed their ability to quieten club team-mate and Portuguese attacker Cristiano Ronaldo in Paris.
“You can see by the results we’re getting and our attitude on the pitch, we have solidarity within the squad. We are here for each other. That’s one of our main strengths,” Varane said.
“We had quite a good game. We were solid, we keep going ahead. We play to our abilities and with a lot of intensity. We play as a group. We have to keep doing as we are and getting results.
“We controlled Ronaldo well. We know he’s a great player and the qualities he has. We were able to control him. The fact that he did not score is a good point for us.”
Attacker Antoine Griezmann said his combination with Karim Benzema, who had one goal and one assist, was an asset to the French side.
“We have a good relationship on and off the pitch. It is easy to play with Karim. We had a good game, we were solid. We have to keep doing the same,” Griezmann said.
“I do not know If we scare anyone. Ask the opponent.
“We keep playing well. We have confidence in our football.
“Everyone wants to beat us. We know that. Every game now is a battle. We have to be ready.”