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Domenech rues defensive uncertainty

Raymond Domenech said defensive errors cost France dear after their UEFA EURO 2008™ prospects took a severe dent with the 4-1 defeat by the Netherlands.

Raymond Domenech looks pensive during the loss to the Netherlands
Raymond Domenech looks pensive during the loss to the Netherlands ©Getty Images

Marco van Basten, Netherlands coach
I don't think it was easy – we played a very good game against Italy and today we were a little bit lucky, we scored the goal at the right moment and that helped us a lot. We started reasonably well in the first half but got into problems. In the second part of the first half we didn't play well – we just defended and France put us under pressure with their ball possession. Everyone was going to the ball when we needed more players to go deep. But then when Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben came on, they went wide and that helped us. It gave us more space and possibilities to attack again. These players are quick and technically good, so in the second half we were much more dangerous, even if France were applying more pressure. I have to compliment my defence – there was a lot of pressure but they managed it quite well and in the end we made some good goals with good counterattacks.

It is an all-round team. We can defend quite well and we have an excellent goalkeeper and, one way or the other, we stopped their attackers. We have astute, intelligent players in midfield and excellent players in attack. They are hungry to perform. We did excellently against Italy and four days later to offer an exceptional performance against France indicated clearly they have an excellent team spirit. We have an obligation to play well against Romania, for the players and the supporters. The result may not be too important for us but we have to approach the game in an efficient manner.

Raymond Domenech, France coach
Defence used to be our strong point – we had a solid defence, but finally we collapsed in one part of the game where we used to be very strong. You need a bit of luck and our opponents had luck, although they did the same against Italy so they have many qualities too. To concede the opener from a corner was very frustrating and it meant we had to play differently. We should have been more vigilant and once you are behind, everything becomes more complicated. We had more chances than against Romania as the game was more open – we opened it a bit too much maybe. If you watch the first 20 minutes after the two substitutions [of Robben and Van Persie] we had four or five clear chances and could have scored.

It was a mixture of mistakes on our side and the quality of the Dutch goalkeeper who, as usual, put in a good performance. There is a possibility for both teams [France and Italy] to go through but it all depends on the other match, Romania against the Netherlands. The Dutch have six points and I am convinced they won't play the same players. It doesn't depend on us – both teams have to play and hope something happens in the other match. In the circumstances, we have to be very optimistic to imagine the Netherlands will beat Romania.