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Domenech left cursing France's luck

Raymond Domenech said that "everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong" for his France side as they exited the EURO after a 2-0 defeat by Italy.

Roberto Donadoni (left) shakes the hand of Raymond Domenech
Roberto Donadoni (left) shakes the hand of Raymond Domenech ©Getty Images

France coach Raymond Domenech paid tribute to his players for battling to the end after their 2-0 defeat by Italy confirmed their elimination from UEFA EURO 2008™. Domenech felt everything went wrong for his side – who lost Franck Ribéry to injury and Eric Abidal to a red card inside 24 minutes - but stressed: "We never gave up." While Italy coach Roberto Donadoni was able to celebrate a "great" win for his team, Andrea Pirlo's penalty and a free-kick from Daniele De Rossi setting up a quarter-final meeting with Spain, a draining night for all finished in particularly emotional circumstances for Domenech, who proposed to his partner shortly after the final whistle.

Raymond Domenech, France coach 
I don't feel disillusioned but I do feel disappointed. Everybody is disappointed after tonight's game. But the strongest feeling I have is one of pride. I am proud of the way the players conducted themselves despite everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong. When you lose a player to injury, then another to a red card and concede a goal from a penalty straight afterwards, it's not easy to pick yourselves up. But we never gave up. This team has a real future. I thought their performance was wholehearted and beautiful at times. In terms of the preparation, I think I should have done one thing differently. I should have continued to emphasise the line of thought I had six months ago: this EURO is above all an excellent opportunity for a young team to prepare for the [FIFA] World Cup in two years. The experience they have gained here will be really useful for that.

Roberto Donadoni, Italy coach
I don't think this is my greatest moment as coach but it's certainly a great satisfaction. The victory is a reward for the whole group and especially the players who have worked so hard over the last two years. We've had some difficult moments in that time but the boys have always found the strength to bounce back. As a player, I always tried to win matches through sweat and hard work. Unfortunately I can't do it any more so I have to rely on them. The players deserve the credit. We did get some breaks. Franck Ribéry's injury made it hard for the French and there was also the deflection on [De Rossi's] free-kick. But I wouldn't say we were lucky because we created a lot of chances. It's a great win because we were up against a formidable opponent. I want to congratulate France, who never stopped running and put us in difficulty despite playing with ten men. Life will get even harder now. Spain are a very good team and they showed us in a recent friendly that they will not be easy to beat.