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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
Santini salutes players

France coach Jacques Santini
France coach Jacques Santini paid tribute to his players for securing top spot in Group B and a place in the quarter-finals against Greece.

"The Swiss gave everything and we had to go looking for the victory in the last quarter of an hour," Santini said after France's 3-1 win.

"But I want to congratulate my players who have given pleasure to the coaching staff and taken pleasure from this win.

"And they've also given the spectators a great deal of pleasure too."

Santini added: "The important thing until now has been to prepare for the match against the Swiss.

"But we sent observers to watch Greece play because anyone who beats Portugal in the opening match of the tournament must be taken seriously.

It's good news to learn Thierry is scoring goals again
Zinedine Zidane

"It's not a relief but we had to go and look for this victory. These three matches weren't easy."

Thierry Henry, who scored two goals for France against the Swiss, said: "We have been criticised, sometimes with justification.

"But the most important thing is to finish first in the group.

"I have great respect for Greece but it's nevertheless better to avoid Portugal."

Zinedine Zidane admitted France were below their best.

"You always can improve one or two things in your strategy," he said. "We are through and it's the most important matter. France have done their duty."

Zidane was also pleased to see Henry bag his first two goals of the tournament, after looking off-form in France's first two games against England and Croatia.

"It's good news to learn he's scoring goals again," Zidane said. "We are happy, just like he certainly must be."

Links to more France stories



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