Coach Didier Deschamps said France had responded to their critics with a “great” performance to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a 4-3 win over Argentina on Saturday.
France struggled to convince during the group stage of the tournament in Russia and Deschamps said he was happy they had finally lived up to expectations.
“As I told them before the game, we have been preparing for months, for weeks to play matches like that,” Deschamps was quoted as saying by TF1. “We had to respond (to the critics) and we responded well,” he added.
“Criticism is always there. But there is truth on the pitch and (the response) came through a strong and quality performance which we delivered tonight. We made Argentina suffer. It was a great fixture and a great match.”
“There were mistakes, obviously. We started badly at 2-1 down but we knew what we needed to do. We could have kept things a bit simpler near the end of the game, though. There was a lot of emotion. I am happy for the players who went out to get this qualification for the quarter-finals.”
France will play the winner of the other round of 16 fixture of the day – between Uruguay and Portugal – in the quarter-finals.