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France fall short of mission impossible

Defeat by Spain was no disgrace for the France players, with captain Hugo Lloris saying his side "had to attempt the impossible" in looking to oust the holders in Donetsk.

Franck Ribéry walks off the field after France's 2-0 defeat by Spain
Franck Ribéry walks off the field after France's 2-0 defeat by Spain ©AFP/Getty Images

A 2-0 defeat by Spain brought the curtain down on France's UEFA EURO 2012 campaign, but while Hugo Lloris, Karim Benzema and Adil Rami made no attempt to hide their disappointment, all three agreed that the world and European champions had made their mission nigh-on impossible in Donetsk.

Hugo Lloris, France goalkeeper
We achieved our first aim in getting past the group stage, and then we had to play against Spain, the best team in the world. We had to attempt the impossible. We didn't manage it, but we shouldn't feel ashamed. We have done our best and we were so close. We have to learn from this competition for the World Cup qualifiers. We will play against Spain again, and because we have a young team, we have to learn from this.

During the first half Spain put in a lot of effort, and kept us under pressure. They stopped us getting the ball. We were expecting that in a way, but it was difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, we conceded the first goal in the 20th minute. If it had been 0-0 at half-time, we could have posed more of a threat. After half-time, we felt they were tiring and we sped up the play. We did some good things, but we lacked power and precision in the final third. We have nothing to be ashamed of – it was very difficult for our forwards, and we should leave here with our heads held high.

Karim Benzema, France forward
I am sad because it was a very difficult game and after losing we have to say goodbye to the EURO and go home. Spain are a great team and today they showed they are the favourites to win it. Xabi Alonso showed he is a great player and that Spain need him.

Adil Rami, France defender
From my point of view, we performed pretty well defensively. It is true that we had some difficulties throughout the game, but we expected that. Now I have to say that we played against the best team in the world, and that Spain didn't have that many chances, but when they had one they didn't miss it, and that made the difference.

There is nothing you can do about it. There's nothing more to say – now we'll pack our bags and go back home. We can only congratulate Spain. The only regret we can have was our performance in the 2-0 defeat by Sweden. We have to move on and we shouldn't be too down about our game against Spain.

Laurent Koscielny, France defender
We have seen for some time that Spain play the most beautiful football and win trophies, so it was a tough match for us. Spain have the skill to keep possession and make their opponent chase the ball, and this is very energy consuming. We could have scored if we had been more accurate in terms of technique, but we are, nonetheless, leaving with our heads held high.

We defended quite well throughout the game. Of course, they had the ball most of the time, but they didn't create that many chances. We had some chances on the counterattack, but we couldn't score. That's what happened. It is no use being consumed by regret now. I only want to look to the future. I think this tournament has helped us improve; let's not forget that we are a young team. I think we will get better with time.

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