We weren’t strong or fit enough to beat Sweden, admits Blanc


FRANCE manager Laurent Blanc lamented his squad’s fitness after their surprise defeat to Sweden left them facing a daunting European Championship quarter-final with European and world champions Spain on Saturday.

A spectacular scissor kick from Zlatan Ibrahimovic followed by Sebastian Larsson’s stoppage-time volley were enough for already-eliminated Sweden to salvage some pride and weaken France’s hopes of tournament victory.

“We were not strong enough in the tackles,” said Blanc. “I think Sweden played with a lot of heart, they gave everything, physically they were much better than us.

“We suffered a great deal at the back and also in midfield. Sweden had a lot of physical impact there.

“We were dominated in terms of tackles, in the air, on the ground, throughout. Sweden had a lot of physical presence and we could not fight that.”