In the latest France news, Olivier Giroud says his side is fully focused on righting the wrongs of their Euro 2016 defeat by winning Sunday’s World Cup final against Croatia.
Les Bleus were expected to claim European Championship glory on home soil two years ago, particularly as they saw off world champions Germany in the semi-finals, but they were then surprisingly beaten by Portugal in the final.
Chelsea forward Giroud was part of the squad that came unstuck at the Euros and he has also been a regular feature at this year’s World Cup since replacing Ousmane Dembele in the starting line-up during the group stages.
The 31-year-old is determined to erase the bad memories of two years ago by beating Croatia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium and he insists his side’s mentality is completely different to the one they took into the Euro 2016 final.
“It’s different. After the semi-final when we won against Germany we were a bit euphoric, whereas against Belgium it was different,” he said.
“It’s not the same feeling – we know we still have one game to win. There’s that real focus and concentration to finish the job – that’s why it’s different. We’ve come a long way to get here and we don’t want to waste this opportunity now.”
France were regarded as one of the strongest teams heading into the World Cup and players such as Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have proven their worth throughout the tournament, but Giroud knows winning a major international trophy is about more than just talent.
“You can’t win a World Cup on just talent,” he added. “Talent alone is not sufficient. You need efficiency. The mental strength is 70 per cent of the job. If you’re ready to work for your team-mates and each other with dedication and commitment then anything can happen.”
France are priced at 2/5 with bet365 to lift the trophy on Sunday and they will be confident of achieving that feat, as they have never lost to Croatia, winning three and drawing two of their previous meetings.