England Better Than France
Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “Being honest, I thought England played very, very well. England were better than France and I thought that France made too many mistakes at the back.
“England created more chances to score. I thought they made the game very difficult for France. After the first 15 minutes, France looked like they were in trouble. I knew it was going to be hard for France to get a result.
“Our goal really came out of the blue in that first period and England kept fighting, creating problems. At the end, after everything, France went into the semi-final.
“I think it is a very difficult defeat for England to take. If you put yourself in the shoes of the English players, it will be very hard for them to stand up again and respond to this setback. England will have felt like they could have won the match.
“Before the tournament started, I said that, unfortunately for England, something bad always happens.
“There is always something that happens to this team at a European Championship or a World Cup. The match against France highlighted this - England got very close, but couldn’t get over the line in the end.
“England should be proud of what they’ve achieved in the World Cup and, against France, they played well. In most of the matches, England played good football. As a Frenchman, we will always remember this match against England because England played very, very well.
“Gareth Southgate changed his system at the tournament. As a manager he has been criticised for playing defensive football, but in Qatar he played on the front foot and I think that is why England played well.
“The problem with England is always the same thing. They can’t seem to win at the end, even when they play well. Mentally, losing a match like this can create a lot of damage for players and I think that is the biggest problem England have at tournaments. It is a negative cycle that is difficult to break.”
Gallas feels the loss could have damaging psychological effects for England ahead of their Euro 2024 campaign - and suggested the team would need to analyse the individual errors that cost them against France if they are to improve.
“They will take this defeat with them into the European Championships,” he continued.
“Also, don’t forget that this group of players will be two years older - Harry Kane will be 31 - so this will make things more difficult.
“It is impossible to predict what shape any team will be in going into the European Championships - nobody knows if a team will improve after suffering at a World Cup like England have.
“The players who experienced this defeat against France will remember it if they are in a similar situation at the Euros.
“For England to improve, they will need to look at the moments where they came up short against France and look at how these can be managed better in the future. Individually, players will have to watch the game again, even if it hurts to do so.
“This team will go again to another major tournament, so the chance is there for them to improve and to do better.
“There wasn’t a lot that was wrong with the performance against France, they could have done better on the goals they conceded. They will look at those individual mistakes.
“France had other chances to score in the game. Giroud had a couple before he scored. England will look at fixing these problems and, hopefully, the experience will make them better for the European Championships.”
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