Euro 2024: France's enemy is France itself says Evra

The former captain believes France are Hungry to win, and expects a fight from the defending champions Italy and hosts Germany.
France will start their campaign against Austria on 17 June
France will start their campaign against Austria on 17 JunePhoto credit: AFP

CHENNAI: FORMER French captain Patrice Evra has declared France as the favourites to lift the upcoming Euros. "I think, France is a favorite because no other team has a better squad than France. With the starting 11 and the players on the bench, they really want to win that trophy,"  the 43-year-old told media in an interaction.

In the previous edition in 2021, the two-time champions they made it to the Round of 16, but eventually lost to Switzerland on penalties. But Evra still opted to keep faith in the Kylian Mbappé-led side. "I say France are favourites, but the biggest enemy of France is France.

The problem is sometimes we are too good and we are sometimes arrogant and too confident. No other team in this tournament have a better squad than France, the starting 11 and the players on the bench. So we have to be patient and not be frustrated and wait at the right time, you know, to hurt the opponent," Evra, who was recently announced as an expert panellist on Sony Sports Network's coverage for the event, mentioned.

"Everyone would like to have that kind of problem. Any manager in the world," Evra said when asked about France's problem of plenty while choosing the playing XI. "Any manager in the world. So it's all this diversity and that's to make France one of the strongest national teams in the world. Sometimes we can be too arrogant. So we need to be careful. But France will be ready no matter what," the confident former captain said.

The 17th edition of the Euros will kick off on June 14 with the opening game between hosts Germany and Scotland in Munich. The group stage will continue till June 26 with 24 teams divided into six groups. The Round of 16 will begin on June 29 and Berlin will host the final of the tournament on July 14.

With Germany hosting the tournament, naturally, the expectations would be high for them. Germany, just like France, could not get past the Round of 16 in the previous edition. One of the most celebrated sides in the world, they failed to get out of their group in the last two World Cups and would be itching to perform well on their home turf. Evra believes Germany can return to their glory days.

"I was really disappointed with Germany in the last tournament. But if you remember, earlier, it wasn't even a question before the tournament started. You would always put Germany in the semi-final or final. It wasn't even a question because they have discipline. I think Germany lost that discipline, that fear and now it's coming back slowly with some players. I think we're going to be surprised about Germany and I agree they didn't have a good tournament (in the past), but now they're going back slowly. So Germany is still Germany, no matter what," he mentioned.

The defender who represented France in 81 international fixtures also warned other teams about taking the defending champions Italy lightly. "Italy have a manager with great experience (Luciano Spalletti). (Gianluigi) Buffon is coming back into the staff with Italy. you always have to respect them because nobody is tactically better than Italy. They missed a big tournament like the World Cup and now, they are finally back. Not seeing Italy in a big tournament, you can feel something is missing, because of the culture. This is a country with a football culture. So trust me, it's always tough to play against Italy. Sometimes they all defend and you're going to feel like it's a boring game and at the last minute, they can hurt you," he warned.

Evra also said that his former Manchester United teammate, Christiano Ronaldo, will make his mark in the tournament at the age of 39. "First of all, age is just a number. I think people need to stop mentioning an age. If he's there, it's because he got the level and I don't even worry about his fitness. When you have Ronaldo in your side, he's going to score. So it's more an advantage than it's a disadvantage. I really don't understand why people question his age or whatever. So Ronaldo stayed good (all these years) and he will be good again," Evra signed off.

Euro 2024 will start on Sony Sports Network from 15th June 2024

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