France coach Laurent Blanc pointed to Xabi Alonso’s early goal as the key moment in his side’s 2-0 loss to Spain in the Euro 2012 quarterfinals, but stood by his tactical choices.
Blanc introduced a fresh tactical formula against Spain, with a five-man midfield deployed in a bid to stifle the reigning champion.
“If you look at our team, we knew Spain’s left side was very strong,” he said. “In Alba and Iniesta, they have two players who overlap constantly. And what’s frustrating is that we conceded a goal from that side.
“If you look at the first half, it’s the only time Alba was able to put a cross in. Even though we covered the front post, Xabi Alonso scored at the back post.
“It’s a frustrating feeling. We knew they were dangerous on that side, we changed our team to compensate, and they score from that side.”
He added: “In my belief, they are better than us. But my regrets are about conceding in the first half. Even though they dominated the match, I think they feared us a bit, particularly in attack.
“Even at 1-0 down, our second half was much better technically. We had a few openings, even though we didn’t create any clear-cut chances.
“The big regret is the fact we let in the first goal from the first chance. In the second half, the players gave everything. Technically it was better, but it’s very hard to cause Spain problems.”
However, he said it was too early to evaluate France’s showing in Ukraine.
“We’ve just gone out of the competition, we’ll have to analyse this Euro,” said Blanc. “We’ll do it in the days ahead. There will be satisfactions and disappointments, and you’ll see what happens next.” — AFP