France may have ousted rivals Germany for the first time in 58 years but it will mean nothing if they lose Sunday’s Euro 2016 final against a Portugal team that have had more recovery time, said Didier Deschamps.
Two goals by Antoine Griezmann and a strong defensive unity saw the host nation home against a German side that were dominant yet unable to break through in the final third of the pitch.
It sets up an intriguing meeting on Sunday with Portugal who have lost their last 10 games against France going back to 1978.
“We have three days before the final, it’s very short so we have to savour this victory,” coach Deschamps told reporters.
“It’s an important step forward but the most important step is Sunday. We’re going to do everything in our power to go into Sunday’s game in the best possible condition.”
Deschamps, who met reporters much later than expected, said he was delayed as he soaked up some of the atmosphere after France defeated Germany in a major competition for the first time since the 1958 World Cup.
“It’s an excellent result and it’s been a long time since we beat Germany but it gives us nothing today. There is now a title to play for against Portugal,” he added.
The coach, who won the European Championship as a player in 2000, bemoaned the calendar that gives his players one day less to recover than Portugal.
“Just because we are at home and beat Germany doesn’t give us extra powers. They believe in themselves and we believe in ourselves too,” explained Deschamps.
Thanking the passionate fans in Marseille, who gave his side a bit extra when they were in difficulty, Deschamps said he hoped the win would give the French population something to cheer after a difficult period.
The 2-0 win was the same as when the two sides met in Paris in November when Islamist militants struck at the Stade de France national stadium and other sites across Paris.
“It’s a great emotion, we had to suffer but never gave up and that’s great for me. This is a great story, the players wrote history by knocking out Germany,” added Deschamps.
“We don’t have the power to solve people’s problems but we can gave them a bit so they can forget their worries. We generate passion and fervour, we can see that and in France today we gave them a little joy.”
England’s Mark Clattenburg will be the referee for the final at the Stade de France, governing body UEFA said.
The 41-year-old also officiated in the Champions League final, won by Real Madrid over city rivals Atletico in May.