Clattenburg to referee tomorrow's Euro final

by Jared Lewis July 10, 2016, 8:31

France managed just one point and a goal in that miserable World Cup campaign in South Africa, but those rows and resignations have cleared the path for the run to the final at Euro 2016. "But we still have one step to take, the hardest one, but one that's worth it".

"But building a great team takes a lot of time". If you look at recent times with the Spaniards or indeed the Germans, you can't have success overnight.

It is a far cry from the dark days endured just six years ago, when players went on strike in protest at the French Football Federation's decision to send home Nicolas Anelka following a bust-up with coach Raymond Domenech.

Xavi, 36, won the competition in 2008 and 2012 with La Roja during an global career that also included a 2010 World Cup win.

The suspension of star striker Karim Benzema this year over his link to an attempted sextape blackmail added to the troubles. "Feeling all of the French public behind us, feeling the joy shared between the players and the fans strengthens our bond". It has taken a lot of effort, a lot of work to improve our reputation. "There is nothing like playing in a competition like this for our country".

"Since the beginning we said we could win the Euros".

"Yes, because I'm representing my people, my country".

Amid such disquiet, Lloris has marvelled at the way supporters have united behind Didier Deschamps' team on their road to Sunday's final against Portugal.

Portugal seemed far away from the final when failing to win a group-stage game, and trailed three times against Hungary before salvaging a third straight draw.

When asked about the groundswell of support for the French team, midfielder Joao Mario said: "They can believe that but 100 per cent of the Portuguese people believe in a Portugal win".

He added: "We believe in ourselves, we have always believed. The coach has given us this confidence, this spirit".

Portugal are appearing in only their second major final after Euro 2004, when as hosts they suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Greece. Photos of Ronaldo crying after the game have become enduring images.

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