France coach Deschamps savours reaching Euro 2024 quarter-finals

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:France;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">France</a> coach Didier Deschamps celebrates after his side's 1-0 win over <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Belgium;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Belgium</a> that took them into the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 (Alberto PIZZOLI)

France coach Didier Deschamps praised his team after Monday's 1-0 win over Belgium which took them into the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 and insisted their ongoing success was not something that should be taken for granted.

The 2022 World Cup runners-up edged their neighbours thanks to a late Jan Vertonghen own goal in Duesseldorf, after a last-16 tie which they dominated without converting the many chances which had fallen their way.

"We have been playing against teams who are used to having more possession but we have made lots of progress in that regard and our opponents are more wary of us now," Deschamps said after a defensive Belgium side set up to try to frustrate France.

"Belgium looked quite attacking on paper in their set-up today but they were prudent in the way they played.

"We did everything today to attack and create chances. We also needed to be intelligent and wary, to not give them the spaces they wanted.

"It is not what wins you the match but it is better to have the ball and make your opponents defend. We didn't fall into their trap, we did what we had to do."

France had 20 attempts on goal to just six for Belgium, but their finishing again let them down and they have reached the last eight despite none of their players having scored in open play.

Of the three goals they have netted in four games at the tournament, one was a penalty by Kylian Mbappe against Poland while the other two were scored by opposition defenders.

"The only thing was the number of shots we had which were off target, but we are so proud to once again be in the quarter-finals.

"We are expected to get there but we must appreciate it and not think it will happen every time," said Deschamps.

This is his sixth major tournament as coach, and France have now reached at least the quarter-finals five times.

The one exception was at the last Euros three years ago, when they went out in the last 16 on penalties to Switzerland.

France now go to Hamburg for a quarter-final on Friday after a victory which Deschamps celebrated in demonstrative fashion at full-time.

"This is the highest level and it was a very tight game. I understand how cruel it is for (Belgium coach) Domenico Tedesco but when you win you want to show joy," he said.

"You need to appreciate every moment. We are not going to get carried away but we are in the quarter-finals and obviously that was important for us."