Blanc: France need to believe they can beat Spain

The Bleus coach claimed that he feels his side could overcome the world and European champions but to do so they need to have faith in their own ability to reach the semi-finals
France coach Laurent Blanc has declared that if his side are to beat Spain they need to believe that they have the ability to overcome the heavily favoured side.

Les Bleus suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Sweden on Tuesday, setting up a last eight showdown against world and European champions Spain, but Blanc feels they need to move on and have faith in their chances in the quarter-final.

The former Bordeaux boss could not hide his admiration for the style of football Vicente del Bosque's side play.

"We did not do what was needed to win the game [against Sweden]," Blanc told reporters. "Against Spain, we need to be convinced that we can beat them. They are very strong in possession. The few opportunities that we will have, will be played at 100 per cent.

"It is a kind of football [Spain’s] which pleases me. If there is someone who does not enjoy it, they must be very rare. It is enjoyable and efficient.

"They have a base of players who know each other very well. Yes, we should try and replicate it but we aren't there yet. Far from it.

"We would love to find players who play simply, play the Spanish way. They do so with their eyes closed. It is the intelligence of their game which is a rare quality in football. If we had it, it would be better than players who are capable of individual brilliance."

The manager, who has recently been linked with the Tottenham vacancy, did not hold back with his comments regarding the Sweden game, but maintained that his team must move on and react positively.

"It [the loss] happens but there has been a positive reaction," Blanc insisted. "All the players did not feel that they had not given 100%. We may have thought that we had won the match.

"I don't know if it is the essence of a young group, the players are not so young. It is not up to the coach or staff to say things all the time, they must do it between them. The game is in the past, we must now move on. We must prepare in the best conditions now.

"The tension, it always exists and often when there is a defeat. With a victory, we accept more things and we are happy.

"The score was 2-0 and the second goal was not irrelevant, but we conceded it on a counter-attack because we tried to equalise. If Olivier [Giroud] equalises before, we are at 1-1, the best score we could have hoped for.

"We need our football to be as simple as possible. It is the best but it is also the hardest thing to do."

The former Manchester United and Inter Milan defender also backed his decision to only take three central defenders to Euro 2012, which looks to have backfired after Philippe Mexes picked up a second yellow card of the tournament meaning he'll miss the Spain tie.

"That was the choice and the circumstances are that there is a problem," Blanc explained. "A lot of squads come to the Euros with just three central defenders. The situation and Philippe Mexes’ yellow annoys me a little but it is done."