Didier Deschamps: France still not over loss in Euro 2016 final
France coach Didier Deschamps admitted that his players have still not digested their defeat in the Euro 2016 final but suggested that winning this summer's World Cup might change that, after Les Bleus beat Belgium 1-0 in the semifinal on Tuesday.
It was only two years ago that France reached the European Championship final on home soil, only to lose to Portugal in extra-time, and Deschamps told TF1 that result was still weighing on the team's minds.
"Yes, we are in another final -- two years ago, I remember what happened two years ago," the coach said after Tuesday's victory. "We will go into this final to win it, as we have still not gotten over the [Euro] final."
Samuel Umtiti scored the only goal of the game in Saint Petersburg as Les Bleus kept the Belgians at bay and Deschamps, who captained the 1998 World Cup champions, was pleased for his young squad.
"It is something exceptional -- I am very happy for my players," he said. "They are young, but there is character, and mentality -- it was tough for them against this Belgium side. This game belonged to the players."
Umtiti was also looking to exorcise the ghosts of Euro 2016.
"We didn't win the Euros final, so that's why it's close to my heart now to reach this level at the World Cup," he said. "I hope it's going to be different this time, I hope we will able to bring the World Cup back to France."
Olivier Giroud, who is still without a goal in Russia, revelled in his childhood dream of reaching a World Cup final and hopes to emulate 1998 hero Zinedine Zidane.
"It is a childhood dream -- we are proud to share it with all of our friends, and the French people," the Chelsea man told TF1. "It was not easy, but we went and got it -- now, there is one match left, 90 minutes.
"It is an unforgettable moment -- I remember Zizou at the Arc de Triomphe, and I hope that we will have our chance."
N'Golo Kante spoke of his "immense joy" and "pride" at the feat and promised to give everything in the Moscow final.
"We wanted to reach this final, and now we have made it," he told TF1. "We must take advantage of it now. We will give this final match everything. I hope that, come Sunday, we will all be happy."
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made another excellent save to help his team to victory and he called reaching the final "crazy."
"Football is beautiful because we can make our supporters and all of the French people feel emotions," the captain said.. "It was an important step and we hope to be celebrating on Sunday -- it is fantastic.
"We did what the coach asked of us, we were competitive in every aspect of the match, and we finally scored from a set piece. It was hard to take two years ago, and we do not want a repeat of that."
Finally, Antoine Griezmann told TF1 of the luck that Adil Rami's moustache has brought France in Russia and his desire to bring the World Cup back to France.
"Rami's moustache brought good luck," he said. "We already managed a set piece like this in the quarterfinals, it worked perfectly. There are 90 minutes to go to win France this World Cup, and we hope to go until the end.
"I know that I am important and that I was not at my best in the group. It is in the knockout rounds that I hit my stride, though, and I hope to continue like this.
"Whatever the name on the Arc de Triomphe, we just want this World Cup."