Bacary Sagna defends France Euro 2012 performance

Bacary Sagna
© PA Photos
France defender Bacary Sagna defends his country's performance at Euro 2012, and criticises the French media's treatment of players.

France defender Bacary Sagna has defended his country's performance during this summer's European Championships.

Les Bleus crashed out at the quarter-final stage at the hands of eventual winners Spain but Sagna, who missed the tournament through injury, believes that they could have reached the final if they had beaten Sweden in their group.

Sagna also slammed the French media for criticising the players, particularly Samir Nasri, who was banned for four matches after an altercation with a journalist - citing Wayne Rooney swearing into a camera as an example of worse behaviour in football.

"For me, Les Bleus didn't perform so bad at the Euros, it was all down to the defeat against Sweden. If we finished in first position, we could have played the final. Facing Spain or Italy, in the quarter-final, it is not the same. I can understand the fans' disappointment. The first thing is to blame the players. But what annoys me is the fact a slightest thing could make everything blow up, while the group was fine," Sagna told L'Equipe.

"We also pay too much attention to the press. Critics have always existed but nowadays the players are too over-sensitive. Frankly, critics are offending, but you have to accept them. I have often been criticised about my crosses. I was so offended that I used it. Each day after training sessions, I practised my crosses.

"I could not back Samir Nasri's reaction but I can understand it. Before the Euros, everyone criticised him. I could not understand why it made so much buzz. When you see the behaviour of English players, who go to the camera to say 'f**k off!' We are real saints compared to them!"

France will face Finland and Belarus in World Cup qualifiers on September 7 and 11 respectively.

Didier Deschamps
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