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Deschamps: France dug deep to beat Ireland

Didier Deschamps acknowledged France had been made to fight all the way by the Republic of Ireland, with Martin O'Neill saying the losers had given their all.

Didier Deschamps celebrates France's win
Didier Deschamps celebrates France's win ©AFP/Getty Images

Didier Deschamps, France coach
I knew it was going to be a difficult match, and when Ireland took the lead it made us a bit more uncomfortable in the first half. They showed a lot of enthusiasm but we had to dig deep, get through the situation and get in front.

[The tactical switch at half-time] was to get more presence up front. Ireland were quite deep so we wanted to get Griezmann closer to Giroud, bring on some pace with Coman and use the wings a bit better. But above all, to get more presence up front – the four attacking players all created chances.

I don't gamble with my decisions. I take decisions based on discussions with my players, and when things don't work out it's my fault. I made some changes because my substitutes can always contribute something.

Griezmann: We have to keep second-half mentality
Griezmann: We have to keep second-half mentality

It's not just tactical, it's also about will power; we sometimes need to shake things up and be more determined. In the second half we saw more fluidity. I raised my voice at half-time, but we needed to keep calm and shake things up – wake them up a little bit. The players played their part as well.

It's a very even tournament. This team is giving a lot of emotion to the crowd and making everybody fall in love with them. There's lots of emotion here in Lyon and we really need this great support from the fans.

Martin O'Neill, Republic of Ireland manager
It's a natural disappointment considering the position we got ourselves into, and you look at the goals we conceded. Another six or seven minutes – and I know that's a long time – without conceding and France might have got panicky. The players couldn't have put anything more into the game, not an ounce left.

There's never a good time to go out of the competition. We were playing a very fine side in France, possibly the tournament favourites, and we had a go. We had them under pressure and at half-time we're in the lead and feeling we can win the match. When we analyse qualification and the tournament, we've done very well – hence the disappointment. 

We put heart and soul into the game, as has become a prerequisite for us. Some of the younger players have come of age and it's up to them to take it further. Reaching the last 16 is an achievement but it's not something to rest on.

The tournament has been great for the players, and naturally for the supporters. The fans have been wonderful in the four games we've had and they've given the players extra energy throughout the tournament.

The reaction the players got when they went out to warm up against Sweden has continued right throughout the tournament. I couldn't be more proud of the fans – they've been a credit to the country.


Antoine Griezmann, France forward
I'm really happy to have qualified. We struggled to get into the game and we still have a long way to go, so we'll need to improve. But we're going to enjoy this and make the most of it.

My family were in the stands as Lyon is basically my home town so that adds to it. I hope to be able to continue in this vein and to help the team. We gave everything in the second half and you saw a different side to France.

Blaise Matuidi, France midfielder
We did what we had to do in the second half. It wasn't easy against a very good team, but we deserve this victory. We didn't make a good start and then in having to fight back we had to show character. When everyone does a little more, the team is much better.

Coleman: We believed we could win
Coleman: We believed we could win

Seamus Coleman, Ireland defender
We're just so disappointed at the minute. I suppose that shows how well we've done. I just felt like it was there for us today. Our fans were unbelievable and we'd love to go a bit further for them, but we hope we made people proud because our fans are amazing and everyone back home is amazing.

We took a lot of belief from the Italy game. The second half was always going to be tough for us and we just couldn't keep the door closed for long enough.