Samir Nasri says he is "confident" France will progress from Group D after scoring his team's equaliser in Monday's 1-1 draw against England, helping him earn the Carlsberg Man of the Match prize.
The Manchester City FC playmaker struck a superb 39th-minute effort to cancel out Joleon Lescott's opener, and sparkled throughout in Donetsk with a stylish performance on the right flank.
On receiving the award from Portugal legend Fernando Couto, the 24-year-old expressed satisfaction but admitted he had mixed feelings about the result. "It's an honour to receive this award but I would have preferred to win the game," Nasri said. "We didn't lose, which is really important, and we are now focused on the second game against Ukraine. I'm confident we will go through."
Couto explained that he had chosen the former Olympique de Marseille and Arsenal FC man because of his all-round display and not only his outstanding goal. "His movement and his passing – notably the triangles he played with Franck Ribéry and Karim Benzema – were excellent," said the former Portugal defender.
It was nevertheless his moment of inspiration shortly before half-time that stood out. Picking up possession from Ribéry's pass, Nasri curled an accurate shot inside the near post from 20 metres out. "The England defence was sitting really deep so I had to take a shot," Nasri said. "The weird thing is I know [the England goalkeeper] Joe Hart from Manchester City – he knows how I like to open my foot [and shoot inside the far post], so this time I decided to close my foot."
Positioned on the right, Nasri often drifted infield to good effect. As well as finding room in front of the England defence, he created space for attack-minded full-back Mathieu Debuchy to exploit on the wing. "Sometimes you have to be patient with talented players," France coach Laurent Blanc said. "We have been patient with Samir. Tonight, I am happy for him and the team."
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