Football

Didier Deschamps and Olivier Giroud respond as France reach World Cup semi-finals


France manager Didier Deschamps said his side showed ‘heart and guts’ in order to beat England and advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Les Bleus had to do more than their share of defending over the course of the match, but ultimately wrapped up the win with a thumping header from all-time top goalscorer Olivier Giroud.

England captain Harry Kane then missed a crucial late penalty, robbing his side of the chance to draw level and handing victory to the French.

“It’s fabulous, it was a big game,” said Deschamps in the wake of the match. “We played a superb England team who are strong technically and physically.

“It’s brilliant for the players to be in the last four again. In these moments you kind of wish time could stop for a while.

“But tonight we’re going to enjoy it. We got a bit lucky although we gave away two penalties. We kept our lead with our hearts and our guts.”

36-year-old Giroud was also in an elated mood after the game, and talked reporters through the moment he scored to clinch the victory for his side.

“This goal tonight, the 53rd, is even better (than equalling Henry). Just before I had a chance that I should have hit harder and scored,” he said.

“I thought I might get another chance and when it came to me it was an unbelievable feeling to score.

“You need to keep believing,” he added. “(Antoine Griezmann) gave me a super ball, it’s so good for the team, it’s awesome.

“We knew the potential of this young England team. They have everything but we played a solid game, we tried to hurt them on the break. We went for it with all our mental strength.”

France will now face Morocco in the semi-finals. Though Deschamps’ side are undoubtedly favourites to proceed to the final, they will be wary of their opponents after they stunned Spain and Portugal in the last two rounds.



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